The Lives of Others

Reviewers' grade: A-

This year's Oscar winner for best foreign-language film, "The Lives of Others" is chiefly about totalitarianism, depicting an East Germany terrorized by the Stasi, that former country's secret police. But this film probes deeper, using its tale of spying to explore notions about voyeurism, empathy and even the experience of moviegoing.


Such lofty themes would mean little if "Lives of Others" didn't also happen to be a gripping and beautifully told story. Set in East Berlin in 1984, it finds an unlikely hero in Capt. Gert Wiesler (Ulrich M