Imagine waking up after a nine month sleep to find that you're living in an
essentially different country -- change in government, culture and imported
goods. It could be the basis for some drama and maybe, even, some humor.
Add strong family attachments, political upheaval and medical problems and
you have an idea what to expect from this strong import from Germany.
Director Wolfgang Becker asks us to suppose that a woman, Christiane Kerner
(Katrin Sass) is so invested in East Germany and its soviet-based political
values that to face its disintegration could be life-threatening. Next, the
premise has it that when she gets seriously ill and goes into a months-long
coma, her son Alex (Daniel Bruhl), upon her return to consciousness, thinks
it's necessary to protect her by masking the changes that are occuring
outside her apartment every day.
Commercialism, capitalism and cross border freedom are things she's assumed
not be able to cope with. The attempts to keep the shock of losing the
system she campaigned for all her life, and the inevitable discoveries
awaiting her, is the crux of the comedy.
A bit far-fetched perhaps, but much comedy is. Becker keeps it light and
amusing, a little underwhelming, a note of melancholy, but not without its
charm deriving, largely, from an attractive cast and an earnest son.
~~ Jules Brenner