The Farewell (2002)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Infused with a mood of apprehension and decay, this film concerns theatrical luminary Bertolt Brecht (played by Josef Bierbichler) and his inner circle on the final day of their summer vacation in 1956. Set entirely in Brecht's summer house in the East German countryside, the guests consist largely of the writer's lovers, past and present. Brecht's wife Hellene Weigel (Monika Bleibtreu) -- Helli for short -- has taken a remarkably charitable view of her husband's philandering. Brecht's current mistress, young actress Kathe Reichel (Jeanette Hain) is one of their guests, along with political dissident Wolfgang Harich (Samuel Fintzi) and his wife, who is having an affair with Brecht with her husband's approval. Also, there is ex-lover and dissolute drunk Ruth Berlau (Margit Rogall); Brecht's editorial assistant, Elisabeth Hauptmann (Elfriede Irrall); and the playwright's teenaged daughter, Barbara. Each guest angles to garner Brecht's attention. Preparing to leave for a rehearsal in Berlin, Helli is visited by a young Stasi officer who informs her that Wolfgang will be arrested and charged with treason. Fearing for her husband's bad heart, she entreats the apparatchik to do the deed after Brecht has left. As arrangements are made behind Brecht's back, a feeling of doom soon pervades the cottage. This film was screened at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
New Yorker Films


Josef Bierbichler
as Bertolt Brecht
Monika Bleibtreu
as Helene Weigel
Jeanette Hain
as Kathe Reichel
Elfriede Irrall
as Ellisabeith Hauptmann
Margit Rogall
as Ruth Berlau
Samuel Fintsi
as Wolfgang Harich
Rena Zednikowa
as Isot Kilian
Birgit Minichmayr
as Barbara Brecht
Tilman Gunther
as Man with Hat
Paul Herwig
as Weckwerth
Claudius Freyer
as Palitzsch
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Critic Reviews for The Farewell

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

A gentle film about a lion of a man who, as a communist, was forced to leave Germany, lived almost penniless in Europe and America during the war and returned to his homeland in 1948.

Full Review… | June 2, 2006
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Intelligent, caustic take on a great writer and dubious human being.

January 16, 2002
Top Critic

The movie is full of fine performances, led by Josef Bierbichler as Brecht and Monica Bleibtreu as Helene Weigel, his wife.

January 16, 2002
New York Post
Top Critic

Extremely well acted.

January 16, 2002
New York Times
Top Critic

Poignant and delicately complex.

Full Review… | January 15, 2002
Village Voice
Top Critic

A well-acted and quiet character study of Brecht that clearly shows why the author was so tired during his last days, but tells little of his art or politics.

Full Review… | May 11, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

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