Das Leben der Anderen 2006

Critics score:
93 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: The Lives of Others works beautifully, both as a social and psychological drama and as a taut, tightly wired thriller. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: A cunning piece of construction -- a Kafkaesque tearjerker, a tragic farce. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: [An] accomplished first feature. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: A genuinely thrilling tale, leavened with sly humor, that works ingenious variations on the theme of cat and mouse, speaks to current concerns about personal privacy and illuminates the timeless conflict between totalitarianism and art. Read more

John Hartl, Seattle Times: What you're likely to take away from his Oscar-nominated drama in the foreign-language category is a sense of hope that feels neither forced nor sentimental. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Far and away the richest and most brilliantly acted picture to be released this Oscar season. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Poised between Kafka and Tom Cruise, The Lives of Others is the sort of movie that constantly engages you. You never know what's going to happen next, and it's all done with a precision and intelligence that's rare in movies these days. Read more

Noel Murray, AV Club: Writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck gives his debut feature, The Lives Of Others, no particular style, and the absence of visual risk-taking renders an exciting premise ponderous and stolid. Read more

Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic: Just from an entertainment standpoint, wondering what decisions the characters will make, and what the consequences might be, makes for edge-of-your-seat tension despite the movie's quietly thoughtful tone. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: A movie of slowly accumulating tension and power, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's drama -- a foreign language Oscar nominee, with a good shot at winning -- is also a romance between two men, but not the way you think. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: A potent narrative about the transformative effect of involvement in other people's stories, Lives turns its own story into a python-tight embrace of nuanced tension and emotional connection. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: Its suspense builds on the fragile and nuanced business of emotional rebirth. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The director is fortunate to have cast actors who fully embody their roles. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: It is Ulrich Muhe's portrayal of Wiesler that makes the film such an impressively humane political thriller. The muted shifts in Wiesler's character suggest that when you truly engage the lives of others, you open yourself to profound change. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: A political thriller that's consistently as inventive as it is creepy. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: The filmmaker's control of story and pacing is so wily, his script so literate (in his feature debut, no less), that to reveal much more would interfere with the thrill of the tentacled plot's twists. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Few would deny that The Lives of Others is true to its self, and in its depiction of human nature -- and human spirit. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Set, appropriately, in 1984, The Lives of Others weaves a compelling human drama into a chilling portrait of polite totalitarianism. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: Judging by the film's success in Germany and its enthusiastic reception at this year's Telluride and Toronto film festivals, it's a good bet that many moviegoers will feel similarly moved. Personally, it gave me the creeps. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: Rich in authentic period atmosphere and performances, but sabotages its best efforts with a sentimental payoff. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Despite its melancholy drama, cynical details and depressing backgrounds, The Lives of Others is both an unflinching look back at that nation's past, and a hopeful glance forward to its future. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: The skillfully acted and directed The Lives of Others is a timely warning about governments that seek to repress dissent. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: One of the most amazing films I have ever seen on the subject of the state's control over the lives of individuals, both through modern instruments of surveillance and an ingenious ability to recruit and persuade even family members to spy on each other. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's film is a melodrama in a minor key, quietly affecting, quietly chilling, quietly quiet. It captures the drab architecture of totalitarianism, the soul-dead buildings of a soul-dead state. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Whether or not this is the best foreign language film of 2006 is debatable, but there should be no argument that it is deserving to be numbered among the elite non-English language productions receiving international distribution. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The Lives of Others is a powerful but quiet film, constructed of hidden thoughts and secret desires. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: Combines a Cold War thriller, a love story and a Dostoevskian tale of sin and redemption. Go see it. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: Moving and deeply satisfying. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: The Lives of Others is the best surveillance movie since The Conversation. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: Writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's movie about the stirring of a cold, Communist soul manages to be both painstakingly docudramatic and moistly idealistic at the same time. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: The complex but lucid script and Hagen Bogndanski's sombre noir camerawork serve not only to establish a brooding atmosphere of fear, doubt and suspicion but to create a suspenseful thriller of political and moral relevance. Read more

Hank Sartin, Time Out: Read more

David Fear, Time Out: Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Avoids predictability and cheap shots in favor of a bracing drama that surprises and occasionally shatters. The Lives of Others reminds us of what filmmaking can be at its finest. Read more

Derek Elley, Variety: Like the omnipresent tentacles of East Germany's onetime secret police, The Lives of Others grips like a boa constrictor. Read more

Variety: Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: The Lives of Others is a compelling thriller but an unsatisfying character drama. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: To watch Lives is not just to enjoy a fabulously constructed timepiece; it's to appreciate a deft cautionary tale. Read more