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Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt (2013)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 64
Fresh: 56 | Rotten: 8

Led by a powerful performance from Barbara Sukowa, Hannah Arendt does a commendable job of dramatizing the life of a complex public figure.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 3

Led by a powerful performance from Barbara Sukowa, Hannah Arendt does a commendable job of dramatizing the life of a complex public figure.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 3,073

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Movie Info

The sublime Barbara Sukowa reteams with director Margarethe von Trotta (Vision, Rosa Luxemburg) for her brilliant new biopic of influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt. Arendt's reporting on the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann in The New Yorker-controversial both for her portrayal of Eichmann and the Jewish councils-introduced her now-famous concept of the "Banality of Evil." Using footage from the actual Eichmann trial and weaving a narrative that spans



Margarethe von Trotta, Pam Katz

Nov 19, 2013


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All Critics (64) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (8) | DVD (2)

Barbara Sukowa delivers a beautifully modulated performance, showing the rigor of Arendt's thought and convictions while revealing the contours of a passionate woman with complex relationships.

October 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Barbara Sukowa] invests Arendt with a steely fury, but the film, set during and after the 1961 trial of ex--Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, has an entertaining cocktail-banter superficiality.

October 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like A Hidden Method, David Cronenberg's drama about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, Hannah Arendt takes seriously the life of the mind.

August 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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In an era of sleepwalking surrender, "Hannah Arendt" is a welcome wake-up call, a ringing reminder that warring forces first assemble on the battlefield of conscience.

August 1, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Balanced portrayal, makes a persuasive case that Arendt was a valuable voice, whose dedicated work in trying to unravel the causes of Europe's moral collapse was worthy of study and consideration.

August 1, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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A film that ultimately says more about banality than evil.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...actors in supporting roles telegraph the controversies surrounding Arendt's personality as if they were attempting to literally touch the viewer's nose.

June 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

Von Trotta doesn't do justice to this strong woman and her contribution to thinking about the nature of evil.

April 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Screenwize

A crisply measured character study with plenty of intriguing ideas, elevated by a terrific, finely calibrated performance by Sukowa.

March 16, 2014 Full Review Source:

A dramatically solid, if talky, account of the controversial episode in the post-war world that spawned the phrase "the banality of evil", with strong performances from Barbara Sukowa and Janet McTeer.

March 15, 2014 Full Review Source: 3AW

I really like this film. I like the milieu that's created of this intellectual life in New York during the 1950s. I think Sukowa is fantastic in the role.

March 12, 2014 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

It's refreshing to find a film inspired by challenging ideas, and Von Trotta and her team are to be congratulated for bringing Arendt's story to the screen

March 12, 2014 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

Sukowa is a supple and brave actress; getting inside Arendt's arguments is the hardest and if the film only succeeds sometimes, that is still a major achievement. Very few films in this era would have dared.

March 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Von Trotta's style is pretty stolid. She aims for documentary thoroughness rather than exhilarating drama. Nonetheless, it's good to see a film that gets its narrative charge from the ferment of intellectual debate. It's a rare breed.

March 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

it is as a piece of drama about the human condition that this film needs to be assessed, and on that score - with a few quibbles about structure and flashbacks and occasional lack of clarity - it is successful, in its own rigorous way

March 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Totalitarianism with sinful intentions versus bureaucratic compliance is what is on the menu - the result is more interesting on an academic and intellectual level than in actual engagement and entertainment terms

March 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

From watching Hannah Arendt, we learn that it is possible to make a taut, compelling film about intellectuals, their opinions and discourse.

February 17, 2014 Full Review Source:

Hey, who doesn't love a good retrospective courtroom drama, or a tasteful picture about a smart writer having a think?

February 5, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

An intelligent film for open-minded thinkers.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Arendt, through the film's glamorizing lens, becomes a character impossible not to identify or agree with.

November 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Thinker and writer adds an intellectual footnote to the Holocaust

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

The banality of evil is examined in this solid and intelligent account of Arendt's controversial conclusions on the trial of Adolf Eichmann.

September 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The period is subtly rendered and the climactic defence of her ideas before a class of students and critics is a stirring and thought-provoking coda.

September 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

This is an interesting film about ideas, and how explosive they can be.

September 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian

Audience Reviews for Hannah Arendt

While the dialogue is at times repetitive and even expository, the rather elliptic plot suffers from the fact that the protagonist remains a nearly inscrutable puzzle during most of the time - but by the end when her motivations are finally made clear, it all fits nicely into place.
December 20, 2013

Super Reviewer

This is one of the few movies I've watched where I read the book first. A sophisticated piece that manages to keep its intellectual subject matter fresh and appealing. My only contention is that it depicts Arendt as an impossibly faultless human being and I would've liked to see a more balanced view there.
July 12, 2013
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer

The film is at least partially successful in showing how noted thinker Hannah Arendt(Barbara Sukowa) came to the intellectually impressive feat of formulating the theory of the 'banlity of evil,' starting with her out of curiosity more than anything else to volunteer to cover the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel for the New Yorker. However, the movie fails to adequately dramatize these events, with some elements lacking relevance(Although whatever gets Janet McTeer into a movie is fine with me.). For example, I'm left wondering how Heidegger(Klaus Pohl) is supposed to fit in. As a byproduct of its limited budget, the movie mostly relies on interiors which actually helps in encapsulating the hermetic lives of academics. As one, Arendt enjoys the arguments she has with other intellectuals, not realizing the huge uproar she is about to cause with her articles in the general public. Previously, the Israeli government was probably having similiar arguments about what to do when they found out where Eichmann was. By the way, this was at a time when governments would at least consider putting the enemies of state on trial.

As time goes on, Hannah Arendt would be proven right when she said that nobodies are behind the evil of the world. Except, even though he would appear like a meek bureaucrat on the stand when he is simply trying to save his skin, the same could not be said of Adolf Eichmann, as he was at the infamous Wannsee Conference and therefore one of the architects of the Final Solution. Check out the documentary "The Specialist" which is comprised solely of footage from his trial and judge for yourself.
July 2, 2013
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

If you can look past boring supporting performances and some awkward interactions, the film is an rather interesting examination of Arendt and her "banality of evil" theory. I like that there is serious consideration given to the notion that what made Arendt's detractors so angry wasn't necessarily her ideas but that she responded intellectually to a situation that most looked at through a emotional lens. Barbara Sukowa deserves some serious recognition for her work here.
November 24, 2013
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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