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Based on 22 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 2 )
  • 75
    Walter Addiego San Francisco Chronicle

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

  • 80
    The Hollywood Reporter

    A slow-burning Cold War drama that will reward patient viewers with its ultimate emotional payoff. show more

  • 90

    It's a movie that works its magic slowly, and on multiple levels; it's a historical drama, a mystery and a love story. And Hoss' performance is simply one of the finest of the year. show more

  • 100
    Farran Smith Nehme New York Post

    Petzold raises questions of honor and builds the romance with an absolutely rigorous lack of sentiment, moving Barbara to a sweeping finish as emotionally satisfying as any this year. show more

  • 88
    Chicago Sun-Times

    Petzold is a master at creating the kind of tension that can be felt on a subterranean level, a sort of acute uneasiness that can't be easily diagnosed, fixed, or even acknowledged by the characters. This is well-trod ground for Petzold, but never has it been so fully realized, so palpable, as in Barbara. show more

  • 75
    Ann Hornaday Washington Post

    In the vein of such recent classics as "The Lives of Others" and "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," Christian Petzold's Barbara re-visits the quiet, everyday tragedies of the Iron Curtain era, when paranoia ran deep and for very good reasons. show more

  • 75
    Wesley Morris Boston Globe

    What Hoss is asked to play - and does play with great skill - is the fine line between self-protection and hauteur. show more

  • 75
    Rick Groen The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    Barbara is intriguing because the script subtly plays off that expectation, not denying it so much as expanding it, showing us that the grey world can contain, and even embrace, contradictory colours. show more

  • 75
    Slant Magazine

    Most compelling in Christian Petzold's latest is the way the filmmaker adeptly conducts his tides of Cold War paranoia. show more

  • 90
    Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic

    The whole film is an exercise in trust and the lack thereof. In the end, it’s a kind of horror film, really, a reminder that these sorts of things were endured by so many for so long, with hope an unlikely ally. show more

  • March 09, 2013 thevisitor967
    Report This User

    This is an excellent film! I loved the acting, directing, writing and especially the cinematography. Barbara reminded me of the foreign films that they used to make during the 70s and 80s. In other words, this is not a political film like The Prophet or No. This is a character-driven film.

  • January 21, 2013
    Report This User

    Well acted film showing what life was like in the oppressive society of communist East Germany. Much of the film is without dialogue and it helps if you know omething of the incessant surveillance under this regime. Nina Hoss is superb and beautiful and the entire cast is brilliant. See this film!

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