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3.8
1,947 Ratings

Barbara

Directed by Christian Petzold
Germany, 2012
Drama

Synopsis

In 1980s East Germany, Barbara is a Berlin doctor banished to a country medical clinic for applying for an exit visa. Deeply unhappy with her reassignment and fearful of her co-workers as possible Stasi informants, Barbara stays aloof, especially from the good natured clinic head, Andre.

Our take

Christian Petzold and Nina Hoss are two of contemporary German cinema’s best talents, and before Phoenix they made Barbara: a character study driven by Hoss’s striking, subtle performance. A tense East Berlin-set political thriller that won Petzold the Berlinale’s Silver Bear for Best Director.

Barbara Directed by Christian Petzold
In a nod to melodramas like Stella Dallas (1937), Barbara ends with an enormous sacrifice by its steely lead character, though without the sentimentality and self-abnegation common to the “women’s weepie.”
March 01, 2019
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It starts out slow and then moves even slower — but by the end, somehow, it got me in its gentle clutches.
February 12, 2012
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All of this is conveyed through the subtlest nuances in looks and timing. Masterful stuff.
February 12, 2012
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