Hannah Arendt


Hannah Arendt

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 71


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,582
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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 three countries, von Trotta beautifully turns the often invisible passion of thought into immersive, dramatic cinema. An Official Selection at the Toronto International and New York Jewish Film Festivals, Hannah Arendt also co-stars Klaus Pohl as philosopher Martin Heidegger, Nicolas Woodeson as New Yorker editor William Shawn, and two-time Oscar Nominee Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) as novelist Mary McCarthy. (c) Zeitgeist


Barbara Sukowa
as Hannah Arendt
Axel Milberg
as Heinrich Blücher
Janet McTeer
as Mary McCarthy
Julia Jentsch
as Lotte Köhler
Nicholas Woodeson
as William Shawn
Ulrich Noethen
as Hans Jonas
Klaus Pohl
as Martin Heidegger
Michael Degen
as Kurt Blumenfeld
Victoria Trauttmansdorff
as Charlotte Beradt
Megan Gay
as Francis Wells
Tom Leick
as Jonathan Schell
Friederike Becht
as Young Hannah Arendt
Harvey Friedman
as Thomas Miller
Sascha Ley
as Lore Jonas
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News & Interviews for Hannah Arendt

Critic Reviews for Hannah Arendt

All Critics (71) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (9)

  • 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.

    Mar 12, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Mar 11, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 11, 2013 | Full Review…
  • [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.

    Oct 4, 2013 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • This is an interesting film about ideas, and how explosive they can be.

    Sep 26, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A trivial take on a profound thinker.

    Sep 26, 2013 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Hannah Arendt

  • Aug 20, 2014
    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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Dec 19, 2013
    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.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 23, 2013
    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.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2013
    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.
    Letitia L Super Reviewer

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