The 2006 German film, The Lives of Others, successfully does what today’s movie critics declined to mention in their reviews:  it condemns Communism.  Too, it exposes a government, East German in 1984, that is slowly getting weary of Communism, whether the death throes are there or not.  A Stasi member called Wiesler (Ulrich Muhe) realizes just how spiritually draining the GDR is.  Although the change which comes over him is insufficiently believable, Wiesler seems to be humanized by three things:  music, some poetry by Brecht, and–the lives of others, viz. the people he is spying on.  One of them is the victim of a Commie’s sexual harassment. 

Directed and written by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, The Lives of Others is absorbing and nicely plotted.  It’s rated R because actress Martina Gedeck has her breast squeezed (by a man) and then exposed.  But it isn’t gratuitous.

(The film is in German with English subtitles.) 

Cover of "The Lives of Others"

Cover of The Lives of Others