Hannah Arendt (2013)
Critic Consensus: 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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Critic Reviews for Hannah Arendt
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.
[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.
Von Trotta's direction is assured and the film has an incredibly strong performance at its core, and it asks a number of important questions, even though it doesn't dare to answer them.
Like A Hidden Method, David Cronenberg's drama about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, Hannah Arendt takes seriously the life of the mind.
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.
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 perfectly into place.
A German-Jewish philosopher covers the Eichmann trial and garners fury for her reporting. It's quite rare to highlight philosophers and their work because it's difficult to raise academic concerns to the level of high drama. This film succeeds because it's a smart film for smart people -- people who can understand Arendt's concept of the "banality of evil." But it doesn't fully commit to its trust in the audience. While we get to see elements of the Eichmann trial from newsreel footage, we don't get inside the process of Arendt's observations. What about Eichmann led her to re-form how we think about morality and evil? Where does she see it, and how can the film show us her evidence? The performances are all strong in a steely-eyed, hyper-intellectual way but without much vulnerability from any of the characters. Overall, this is a strong, intelligent film.
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.
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