Germany's Entry in the Best Foreign Language Oscar Category.
“A slow-burning Cold War drama that will reward viewers with its ultimate emotional payoff, Barbara is a skillfully mannered, meticulously acted film from German writer-director Christian Petzold (Yella, Jerichow). Set in a secluded East German village during 1980, the film portrays the stifling day-to-day of a country doctor torn between her desire to flee and her growing attachment to a fellow physician.
“After being banished from Berlin, Barbara finds herself isolated in a gloomy Northern town where she works at the local clinic. Subject to constant supervision and unable to take so much as an evening stroll without looking over her shoulder, she quickly searches for a way to leave. But her yearnings are gradually transformed as she grows closer to the clinic’s head doctor, Andre, a gentle loner who’s forced to keep tabs on Barbara and whose intentions are never quite clear. Their bond is further enhanced by a love of the profession that has them working overtime to care for two troubled patients: a rebellious teenage runaway, and a young man who attempted suicide.
“Building a stolid and claustrophobic atmosphere the film presents Barbara’s newfound existence through a canvas of muted colors and crisp, stationary medium shots. Barbara begins to grow attached to Andre and their patients, and she’s eventually thrown into a dilemma where her need for freedom is challenged. When she is offered a sure-fire way out, the stage is set for a denouement where conflicting impulses come to a head.” - Hollywood Reporter