BARBARA

"Oppressed by the State"

Quality:
Content: -1 Discretion advised for older children.

Rent or Buy:

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Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

What You Need To Know:

BARBARA is an excellent German movie about the socialist tyranny behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany. The movie is set in the 1980s. Barbara is a doctor reassigned to a small provincial hospital on the coast. She was banished there when she was caught wanting to leave East Germany. She knows everybody is watching her every step, including the hospital’s attractive head doctor. Barbara’s plans to escape communist tyranny are complicated by a young female patient, who also wants to escape.

BARBARA is extremely well acted. Nina Hoss gives a standout performance as the heroine. The filmmakers deftly create the atmosphere of East Germany’s tyrannical society. There are several Christian symbols woven into the movie, but they’re not stressed. Even so, the story is ultimately about self-sacrifice to help others. BARBARA is an important movie for anyone who likes European movies to see. It shows the bleakness of a society controlled by a socialist state. The pacing is very deliberate. Also, the action is muted. However, BARBARA is commended, with a caution for older children due to brief foul language and innuendo.

Content:

(C, BB, ACACAC, L, V, M) Light Christian worldview with a recurring image of a cross, ultimately sacrificial act, one short song about Heaven, moral demands for honesty in a dishonest world, socialism shown as evil, Western societies shown as good; six obscenities (some in German); boy has concussion from jumping out of third floor window, girl cuts her leg on a concentration camp fence, and some other minor bruises, and many scenes in hospital where many people are dying and the state police trying to haul people away to socialist concentration camps; two clothed sexual scenes where nothing explicit shown and one kiss; no nudity; alcohol use; drug use in hospital for relieving pain; and, several attempts to hide possessions and money from socialist guards, and a very bleak portrait of socialism.

More Detail:

BARBARA is an excellent German movie about the socialist tyranny behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany.

BARBARA starts out in East Germany in 1980. East Germany was the most oppressed country in Europe under the communists. Barbara is a doctor who’s reassigned to a small provincial hospital on the coast. She was incarcerated when she was in Berlin for wanting to leave East Germany. She knows everybody is watching her every step.

Andre, the head doctor at the hospital, is an attractive man her age. He tries to befriend her, but she exposes him as just wanting to send the KGB reports of her progress. He challenges her not to think too highly of herself having been in Berlin. He tries to get her favor by telling a story about when he messed up working with an incubator.

Barbara is in love with a West German who is helping her plan her escape. He comes in with his chauffeur and beautiful Mercedes, but no one can get out. She’s planning to be picked up by a scuba diver towing a rubber boat and being taken to Denmark.

Barbara’s life is complicated by a young girl named Stella, who escaped several times from a socialist concentration camp. She hid in the woods after one escape and was bitten by a tick, which gave her meningitis. The only person she allows to treat her is Barbara.

Another young man jumped out of a third story window to escape the pain of socialism. Andre is trying to discern whether that man has a concussion or blood clot.

Eventually, Stella escapes from the concentration camp again and goes to Barbara’s apartment. Barbara’s apartment is often visited by the secret police, who search everything, including her body cavities. The question is whether Barabara escape or help Stella escape, and will Andre stop being an informer for the KGB.

BARBARA is extremely well acted. Nina Hoss gives a standout performance as the heroine. The filmmakers deftly create the atmosphere of East Germany. There are several Christian symbols woven into the movie, but they’re not stressed. However, the ultimate movie plot is about self-sacrifice to help others. This is an important movie for anyone who likes European movies to see. It shows the bleakness of a society controlled by a tyrannical state. It is similar in that way to HUNGER GAMES, but not full of action and adventure. BARBARA shows a very subtle heroine in a very oppressive society. The pacing is like a European movie, very deliberate. Also, the action is muted. However, BARBARA is commended, with a caution for older children due to brief foul language and innuendo.

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