Hannah Arendt is a portrait of the genius that shook the world with her discovery of “the banality of evil.” After she attends the Nazi Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem, Arendt dares to write about the Holocaust in terms no one has ever heard before…
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I was prepared to dislike an (admittedly ambitious) film that wanted to boil down the thought of a complex thinker into a psychodrama about her involvement with the cause célèbre show-trial which also made her a pop-intellectual icon, but schmaltzy and manipulative as the film is, it is also surprisingly gripping primarily because of the acting (ranging from moody complex grays to comic chiaroscuros).
While it took a little while to get going Hannah Arendt proved to be a compelling watch and for those fascinated by questions of morality, equally satisfying. Yes the English portions are a bit clumsy and Janet McTeer does nothing to help them but there is much to like in this lovely bit of traditional story-telling helmed by a strong and commendable older female lead. 3.5 stars
Friends whose opinions I value hated, but I liked it. Surely, it cannot claim to be "art", for it is still too formulaic in its narrative and directing. But the material it's based on makes it interesting, however superficial Arendt may be depicted. I always like historically important man-woman of ideas being depicted on screen - however bad the filmmaking itself be. At least they are being "available" to people.
And this is why you can't make a film about a philosopher. Her ideas on the banality of evil and their impact are reduced to a cliche ridden soap opera, the writing is poor and the majority of characters caricatures, and the extremely unsubtle and clumsy directing was often infuriating. The dialogue in the English sections was also unintentionally comical. Not to mention the cheesy love scenes with Heidegger.
An amazing film about ideas, memories, and friendship. A movie about ideas and public intellectual debates this good should be commended. Hannah Sukowa is superb as Arendt and you gotta love Janet McTeer as Mary McCarthy. As historical recreation of a bygone era - Sukowa doesn't appear in a single scene witout a lit cigarette - this film is "Mad Men" for intellectuals.