User Reviews: MOVIE – Alone In Berlin

Rated M

Inspired by a true story, and based on the international best-seller by Hans Fallada, ALONE IN BERLIN shines the light on two ordinary German people who made an extraordinary impact.

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Berlin, 1940. Working class couple Otto and Anna Quangel (Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson) receive the news that their only son has been killed on the battlefield. Already disillusioned with The Führer and The Fatherland, the loss of their son proves the tipping point and Otto begins a campaign of civil disobedience, writing messages on postcards that urge fellow Germans to resist the Nazi regime.


Anna soon partners with Otto and together they covertly distribute hundreds of postcards, left in stairwells and mailboxes across the city. At the head of the police force trying to track down the dissenters is Escherich(Daniel Brühl) who faces enormous pressure to find, stop and bring the traitors to justice. Acting alone in their unique attempt to turn the tide on support for the Third Reich, this unassuming couple’s sacrifice became an important element of the German Resistance.

Alone in Berlin will be in cinemas from March 2nd 2017. We are sending 5 of our members a double pass to see this movie, read their reviews in the comments section below (may contain spoilers).

5 thoughts on “User Reviews: MOVIE – Alone In Berlin

  1. Alone in Berlin is a story from the Second World War and the recent film adaptation means it is likely to be condemned to the history books. The film is based on the international best-selling novel, Every Man Dies Alone, a book about real-life Berliners Otto and Elise Hampel. The film is a slow and plodding affair that is grossly under-realised and lacking in nuance.

    The film is directed by Vincent Perez and features actors speaking in English but reading and writing in German. The wonderful, Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson star as a married couple who lose their only son after the youngster is killed fighting on the frontline (in real-life this was Elise’s brother.) The pair put in emotional and convincing-enough performances although it is bizarre to hear them speaking in German-accented English.

    After their son’s death in 1940 these two working class parents pour their grief, anger and devastation into some small acts of civil disobedience. They write out postcards with anti-Nazi, anti-Hitler and anti-war sentiments. They would pen almost 300 of these and distribute them to various locations across Berlin. They were careful to take precautions, not leaving their fingerprints or distributing the materials to the same places. The Gestapo were unnerved and furious by these acts, as they viewed these individuals as traitors (Daniel Brühl leads the investigation here.)

    By distributing these postcards this couple were engaging in a very dangerous act and they understood that they were risking their lives in order to do this. But they continue to carry out this operation because it’s a coping mechanism for them and it’s a protest against the things that they were witnessing in a country that was ruled by a tyrannous dictator. There is one scene with an elderly Jewish neighbour that is especially heart-breaking to watch.

    The film itself is pleasant enough on the eye, if a little bland. The mood is a sombre one and an orchestral, Hollywood soundtrack attempts to ramp up the tension and emotion in the story, but this is ever enough. This is a true story of courage and subversion but it feels like a candle where the light has been snuffed out.

    Alone in Berlin is a look at two stoic individuals who protested against the Nazi regime in their own unique way. It’s also a fascinating story that could have been realised and made into a much better movie. This film is ultimately too slow and subtle in capturing the amazing feats performed by two hurt, determined and fearless parents.

  2. I went with my 24 year old grandson to see Alone in Berlin, we both enjoyed the movie but that was it, I thought I would enjoy it more than him being older but he understood what was happening but like me found it a bit flat.
    Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson did a fine performance in the very heavy movie as the main characters set in World War Two and based on a true story I know that some will cry ( I did ) and some will feel anticipation as this couple trys to let people know what was happening in Berlin at great risks to themselves by putting postcards of anti Hitler and anti Nazi messages. We rated this movie a 3/5

  3. I really enjoyed ‘Alone In Berlin’. I think both Emma Thompson and Brendon Gleeson give a wonderful performance of a German couple who lose their only son, who is fighting for Germany in the frontline of the Second World War.

    Their pain is enormous and the reason Otto (Brendon Gleeson) begins his campaign against the Fuhrer and Nazi Regime. He begins to write postcards appealing to fellow Germans and urging them to reject the regime. Initially he begins this on his own and then Anna , his wife , becomes involved too.
    They work together even though they know they are risking their lives.

    I hadn’t realised till the credits, at the end. that this movie was based on a novel by Hans Vallada and inspired by a true story.
    I will definitely be recommending this film to my friends.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to see this film.

  4. I was very eager to see this movie and was thrilled to be chosen by Beauty and Lace to be one of the lucky reviewers. The only issue was finding a time to see it as it was not being shown a lot in mainstream cinemas. Which is a pity as it was a very profound, captivating movie.

    I took my husband along and he enjoyed it as did I – the sets and costumes were amazing and very accurate. It was a little inconsistent at times when the characters would talk in English, but all signs and the all important postcards were written in German although there were occasional translations.

    The acting was very well done also, particularly by Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson and Daniel Bruhl. The only downside were some of the more violent scenes where I’ll admit I had to cover my eyes! True to the historical period though!

    I would recommend this movie to those interested in a true historical tale that shows what can happen when the average citizen is not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.

  5. I was so keen to see this movie… but I had trouble trying to find a cinema that was showing this film. Living in rural South Australia only a couple of cinemas had this movie playing with only very selected times, I found this disappointing.

    But once I saw the movie ‘alone in Berlin’ i was captivated.

    I found it a very intense story to follow but it was played out extremely well.

    The main characters, Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson suited the parts well and did a magnificent job.

    I took my husband and he also really enjoyed the movie. He wasn’t overly keen to go, but said he was pleasantly surprised.

    Thank you once again Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to see it.

    Zoe 🙂

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