World War II is coming to an end and, after witnessing the horrors of the concentration camps, Nelly Lenz (Nina Hoss) has to endure significant reconstructive surgery for a facial injury she received while being held captive by the Nazis. Nelly’s one dream is that things could be the same as they were before she was imprisoned, that she could look like she once did and be reunited with her husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld). Yet she returns to a devastated Berlin unrecognised, her family and friends having long given up hope of seeing her alive. As Nelly tries to make contact with Johnny, she begins to hear sinister rumours about her husband.
Featuring wonderful performances in its leading roles, Christian Petzold follows up Barbara (2012) with another nuanced and disarming drama that courageously takes on dark aspects of Germany’s 20th-century history. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)
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★★★★ The Irish Times ★★★★ The Guardian ★★★★ Irish Independent