Barbara (2012)

Winner of the Best Director prize at this year's Berlin Film Festival, the latest film from Christian Petzold (Yella, Jerichow) is a simmering, impeccably crafted Cold War thriller, starring the gifted Nina Hoss-in her fifth lead role… More

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Rated: PG-13
Running Time:
Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 12, 2013
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Critic Score: 93% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Smart, solidly grafted, and thoroughly gripping, Barbara offers a deliberately paced, subtly powerful character study.

Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic

It persuades us early on that its aura of political tension and suspicion, its taciturnity, its very strictness of silent observation as it begins, are fostering an intelligent thriller.

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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

Hoss, wearing her blond hair pulled back tight, and wearing an expression of inscrutable melancholy, gives a performance that doesn't feel like a performance at all.

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Sean Axmaker

...where there's a rough, stormy beauty to this seaside village, it's also something of a prison without walls, which is not lost on this inmate.

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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Though the film runs a mere 105 minutes, it weighs on viewers like an eternity.

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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader

The occasional ravings of the patients, ringing off the walls in Petzold's measured quiet, provide an appropriate backdrop to the heroine's need for freedom, yet the movie's politics never trump its humanity.

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Christopher Long
Movie Metropolis

Hoss is such a star, one of the finest actresses in the world. Her work with Petzold is exceptional, but I find myself wondering what Fassbinder would have done with her.

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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle

The movie examines the possibility of maintaining one's humanity in a truly oppressive society.

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Sheila O'Malley
Chicago Sun-Times

This is well-trod ground for Petzold, but never has it been so fully realized, so palpable, as in "Barbara."

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Eric D. Snider

A quietly tense drama ... builds slowly to its conclusion, as subtly powerful as it is inevitable.

More reviews for Barbara

Flixster Audience Score: 76% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalhães
A subtle romance with a historical context and great performances, blending love and politics in an engaging story that also explores the curious contrast… More
John Ballantine
The East German secret police had a reputation for brutality in supporting the communist regime. Here within the tranquility of a country setting, the politics… More
'Barbara'. A surprisingly sweet-natured story on giving up "freedom" for happiness. Was expecting a psychological breakdown :/
Joey Shapiro
Barbara isn't a bad movie by any means, in fact it's actually well-made in a number of ways, but I was completely uninterested in it. It's very… More
Walter M.
Dr. Barbara Wolff(Nina Hoss) has been transferred to a hospital in the provinces in East Germany in 1980 against her wishes. In return, she has no intention of… More
John C
Not as dramatic as "The Lives of Others" but still a gripping look into the soullessness of 1980's East German. Amazing how anyone survived this… More