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Starring one of his favourite actresses, Nina Hoss, in the title role, multi-award-winning writer/director Christian Petzold’s film has bleak echoes of THE LIVES OF OTHERS, reflecting how the human spirit can survive under a paranoid, overarching Communist regime.
Exiled to a rural hospital for unspecified misconduct in 1980s East Germany, Barbara finds that her loyalties as a doctor and her resolve to defy the authorities are both tested and subtly eroded. The catalyst is her immediate superior, André, played with fearful reserve by Ronald Zehrfeld, who although charged with snooping on her, finds himself emotionally conflicted.
Meanwhile, under the twitching noses of the secret police, Barbara is planning her escape to the West, a plan increasingly compromised by growing loyalties to her desperate patients and, of course, to André.