At the fall of the Third Reich, Nazi members and supporters were quickly making themselves disappear. Everything they believed in was now gone and everything they once knew was about to change. The movie took the viewer out of their comfort zone to a different side of the story as we follow a Nazi family’s peril through the war rather than following concentration camps and the struggle of the Nazi victims like the media usually focuses on.
Australian director Cate Shortland beautifully told the tragic yet touching story of one Nazi family’s struggle to achieve normalcy again. The story was seen through the eyes of German teenager Lore as she bravely led her four younger siblings to their grandmother’s house across the devastated German countryside. Their Father is a SS Officer who was heavily involved in the Final Solution. Their father, along with their mother, left the poor Nazi children to fend for themselves to assure their own freedom.
On the journey across Germany, Lore and her siblings tussle with immense hunger, fear and sadness. They witness things that children should never have to see, such as disease, robbery and death of their fellow German brethren. On top of that the kids are followed by suspicious drifter, Thomas, who at first struck fear in the group due to the fact that he was of Jewish decent but they soon learn that Thomas only wants to aid them in their plight. Lore tries with her whole being to keep her family alive and safe.
If anyone is a bit squeamish this film would not be one to see. The realistic gruesomeness of this film would make anyone uncomfortable. This film contained graphic content that was so horrifyingly real it cannot help but make viewers squirm in their seats. Although this graphic reality was completely necessary to appropriately tell the story of the family’s struggle, but sometimes was so hard to watch that it could potentially take the viewer out of the story all together.
One thing that stood out about this film was the breathtaking performance given by Saskia Rosendahl who portrayed the role of Lore. Rosendahl did a phenomenal job of truly evoking the trials and tribulations that children went through during the chaos of the ending of World War II. This was such a challenging role to take on and Saskia Rosendahl succeeded with flying colors. She was the greatest part of the movie.
If you are not a fan of gore and realism and you could care less about the acting than this film would still deliver in capturing the gorgeous landscapes of Germany. You cannot help but awestruck by the almost dream-like forests and mountains. It is definitely a nice break from all of the heart-wrenching content that comes with this film.
Overall, this film is emotionally draining and difficult to watch. Only see this film if you are completely interested in the history or to see the wonderful scenery, and especially if you want to see the stunning performance given by Saskia Rosendahl. This film was not “bad” in any regard but it was definitely a lot to take in emotionally for one movie. This film is now playing at the little Athena on Court Street.
Speakeasy Rating: B+