Two Lives (Zwei Leben) (2014)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Europe 1990, the Berlin wall has just crumbled: Katrine, raised in East Germany, but now living in Norway for the last 20 years, is a "war child"; the result of a love relationship between a Norwegian woman and a German occupation soldier during World War II. She enjoys a happy family life with her mother, her husband, daughter and granddaughter. But when a lawyer asks her and her mother to witness in a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of the war children, she resists. Gradually, a web of concealments and secrets is unveiled, until Katrine is finally stripped of everything, and her loved ones are forced to take a stand: What carries more weight, the life they have lived together, or the lie it is based on? (c) IFC Films
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Juliane Köhler
as Katrine Evensen Myrdal
Liv Ullmann
as Ase Evensen
Sven Nordin
as Bjarte Myrdal
Ken Duken
as Anwalt Sven Solbach
Julia Bache-Wiig
as Anne Myrdal
Thomas Lawinky
as Account Executive in Norway
Klara Manzel
as Katrine Evensen (Jung)
Vicky Krieps
as Kathrin Lehnhaber
Dennis Storhøi
as Anwalt Hogseth
Ursula Werner
as Hiltrud Schlömer
Jürgen Ri??mann
as Detective
Ralf Dittrich
as Caretaker Sonnenwiese
Christian Steyer
as Archivist
Matthias Brandt
as Danish Listener
Holger Handke
as German Listener
Holger Handtke
as German Listener
Daniel Krauss
as Reporter
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Critic Reviews for Two Lives (Zwei Leben)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (6)

The personal drama is "I can't tell any more lies!" obvious, the international intrigue is lukewarm, and the big payoff, which should be a shocker, is so poorly staged as to be laughable.

Full Review… | March 27, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

"Two Lives" is an absorbing, well-acted, moderately suspenseful mystery, although its time line of events is fuzzy to the point of impenetrability.

Full Review… | February 27, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

Two Lives unfolds in a slow boil of rage at the government that allowed all this emotional destruction. But Maas treats Katrine with compassion, as a victim of forces more damaging than her own ravenous hunger for love and family.

Full Review… | February 27, 2014
Top Critic

This sober look into how war, peace and politics splintered lives is circuitous, but worth puzzling out.

Full Review… | February 27, 2014
New York Daily News
Top Critic

For an issue movie "Two Lives" is something of a nail-biter.

Full Review… | February 27, 2014
New York Post
Top Critic

Seven decades later, the creative well has somehow not yet run dry on the ripple effects of Nazi Germany's offenses, though writer-director Georg Maas's slick and sulky second feature is not another dime-a-dozen Holocaust tragedy.

Full Review… | February 25, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Two Lives (Zwei Leben)


A nuanced drama that gradually unfolds as it delves into the complex dilemma faced by a protagonist who cannot escape her tragic web of lies, but the contrived last act has a completely unnecessary flashback that almost undermines the power of her final decision.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

"Two Lives" made me think how historical events (and in this case a true story) can change people's lives forever. It's another great European family drama/thriller with the fantastic Liv Ullmann (from most of Ingmar Bergman movies). and a story that will haunt you for a long time and that redefine the meaning of a "lie".

Vicente Russo
Vicente Russo

With the Berlin Wall coming down, you would presume everybody would be celebrating. And then there is Katrine(Juliane Kohler) who has mixed feelings even though her daughter Anne(Julia Bache-Wiig), a single mother, has just met a lawyer, Sven(Ken Duken). His presence into their lives comes of a lawsuit Sven is planning on filing on behalf of Norwegian children who were sent to Germany to be raised during World War II and never returned. So, Katrine travels back to Germany for the first time in decades in disguise to hide any traces of herself in the official records. Inspired by a true story, "Two Lives" is an understated, downbeat, well-acted and nuanced look at people who are caught up in the deceptions and wheels of history where for some the fiction has become the reality. Just as much, there are no heroes and the villains only work in the shadows. Sadly, the movie errs in how it dispenses information, and not just in its tricky opening sequence. This becomes especially important later on, as until the final endnote, it is implied that Katrine was a totally isolated case which would have made the depicted events that much more contrived.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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