The Lives of Others Synopsis
An East German Stasi officer spies on a loyal playwright who has a lover.
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Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings


San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
A great film, the best I've seen since Terrence Malick's "The New World," and far and away the richest and most brilliantly acted picture...
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Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
Rather than dwell on the darkness and squalor, von Donnersmarck has fashioned a genuinely thrilling tale, leavened with sly humor, that...
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Philadelphia Inquirer

By Carrie Rickey
Lives is a best-foreign-film nominee competing in a year that at least three movies in this category are stronger than Oscar's best-picture...
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USA Today

By Claudia Puig
A thoroughly compelling political thriller, at once intellectually challenging and profoundly emotional.
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
A powerful but quiet film, constructed of hidden thoughts and secret desires.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Utterly riveting fictional drama.
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Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
The Lives of Others has similarities to Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 classic "The Conversation" but with undercurrents that resound across...
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New York Daily News

By Jack Mathews
Except for Hempf, every character is under incredible duress, and the performances are exceptional. With his first feature, an Oscar...
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Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
Von Donnersmarck has crafted the best kind of movie: one you can't get out of your head.
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The Hollywood Reporter

Starts out dark and challenging then comes to a startlingly satisfying and warmly human conclusion that lingers long after the curtain has...
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Outstanding Film

By dbust1
If you're looking for a movie go see something else. If you're looking for a FILM see this one. Without a doubt this film will be one of the best you'll see all year. The plot is solid and...

Great movie

By griffups
Character development of one without a home life through communist government assignment spying on others. Great movie! Moving and profoundly stirring & thought provoking in many ways....

The Lives of Others

By miamovies
Undoubtedly the best film I've seen in five years -- it's smart, moving, artful, enlightening and wholly electrifying. The perfect antidote to conventionally brainless summer movies!...

Wonderfulyl insightful film

By Mac_the_Naif
A very human take on the whole idea of spying on citizens. Fascinating story, well written, shot and acted....

"Lives of Others" - We loved it, but some might not...

By WhittyMike
If the thought of a high-IQ, low-action foreign film in subtitles turns you off, then this movie isn't for you. We loved it, however. Good story, good characters, good inner conflicts, interesting...

The Lives of Others

By bandersnatch42
Stop reading this review and go watch this movie! Cleverly written, brilliantly acted, and deliciously suspenseful....

Best acting

By xtendqi
I have seen hundreds of foreign films during my sixty-one years of addiction to movies. The Lives of Others is superb. We witness the transformation of an automaton state worker into a genuine...

Worst Foreign Movie Oscar in years

By Igotothemoviesalot
I don't know how this thing won the Oscar over Pan's Labyrinth. I found it tedious and with inexplicable character motives. And you would think a movie about spying (inherently voyeuristic) into an...


By 6dad6

A movie to watch

By Samoth
The period piece highlights an important part of European postWWII history, how the people of the DDR managed to set up a most impressive self-control system. The system forces nearly everyone to...

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Rated R | For some sexuality/nudity
What Parents Need to Know
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 17+ Art battles duty in bracing German spy thriller.
Read the Common Sense Media Review