When she sees her son Alex (Bruhl) beaten by cops during a political protest, East Berliner Christiane (Sass), a true believer in the Communist system, lapses into a heart-attack-induced coma. During the eight months she is unconscious, the Berlin Wall comes down. When she miraculously awakens, Alex concocts an elaborate ruse to convince Christiane that her beloved republic is still alive and well, since doctors tell him the slightest shock could prove fatal.
Why we love it
Wolfgang Becker's ingenious "Lenin" was a huge box-office hit in Germany, which has recently experienced a bit of nostalgia for Soviet-era culture. The boyish-faced Bruhl offers a tender, funny performance as Alex, who's driven to digging out defunct old GDR product labels from the garbage to place around the house, wearing unfashionable, pre-unification duds, and even enlisting his co-worker (Florian Lukas) to make fake newsreels to fool his mom. Of course, Christiane is more alert than she seems, and perhaps more forgiving of change than we might expect. An astute look at post-communist globalization wrapped up in a family comedy/drama, "Lenin" is one leader you can really get behind.