Wonderful cinematic experience.
The relationships Barbara has with her new supervisor Andre, who might have more than one motive to be near to her, is truly fascinating and complex, and I would say the best part of film. She wants to distance herself from him and her other colleagues at first, for reasons which are later justified, but also finds she cannot isolate herself either. She has emotional connections with a few patients, she treats, one of which is a particularly disturbing case of a girl who ran away from a work camp who's initially difficult to the other doctors but Barbara finds a way to connect. At home she's usually alone, unless there's a terrifying surprise visit from the Stasi. But she has engagements elsewhere other than home or hospital that show the full range of a woman she is.
If this isn't on the level of the a few other modern masterpieces about east European life behind the Iron Curtain in the last decade of the Soviet Union-I'm thinking of "The Lives of Others", and "4 Month 3 Week & 2 Days"-it's a extremely admirable and smart one that comes close, which shows human desires in the face of repression and the fear one lives under in such society. It's part thriller with romantic elements, but more so it's a human look the interaction between several different individuals in this society where ones fated role dictated by the society can be very hard to escape.