The German Movie, Lore, About As Real As It Gets
This is a definite 3.5 - 4 star movie from Germany in English subtitles. The time is April-May 1945. Germany is made of American, British and Russian zones. It is a superb movie about how everyone is impacted by war but Lore (the oldest of the children) is a product of the Hitler Youth, as many were.
The story focuses on the her family. Her father unbeknownst to her, was an SS commander of a concentration camp. They lived well for being in a war. Yet, at this time, even he is in panic mode for his family as the Americans get close, so, he moves them with only suitcases, further away into the Black Forest. That safety does not last long as soon as the father vanishes, the Americans force the mother to surrender. She does but never reveals there are children, two teen girls and two young boys and one seven month old baby.
The children are left alone to fend for themselves with final instructions to get to their grandmother's house 500 km away in Hamburg! Their only mode of travel is their feet. This is where the bulk of the movie is.
Lore has been indoctrinated to hate Jews and mistrust Americans and run from Russians. Since she is the "adult" for the group, they follow her lead but as the effects of war are encountered (dead bodies, thieves, other Germans who hate Hitler, filthy conditions, infections, hunger, sexual advances, murder) her Hitler Youth training softens. This becomes demolished when she realizes her dad and the photos on the wall in a bathhouse of mutilated dead Jews was responsible, She compares the photo of her dad that she carries with her with the photo on the wall. So ashamed, she rips it off the wall.
Along the way, they encounter a man with Jewish papers. He was a POW released from camp. They keep their distance until American soldiers are encountered asking for papers, which none have. The man saves them all claiming to be their brother and shows the soldiers his Jewish paperwork, which Lore sees.
Later, Lore's Hitler Youth training returns when the group eats a loaf of bread. She despises him and refuses to eat from the same loaf even though she is starving. The other kids gladly eat from it and even like the man, Lore still loves Hitler and believes the Germans will still win because Hitler would never let the German people down.
As the journey continues through more hardships and trauma (they have to brutally kill a German man to get his boat) one of the boys is killed by thieves, They meet other Germans who still are devout followers of Hitler, even though the war is over. By this time, Lore, herself questions her own belief in Hitler who now is dead.
By the time they reach their grandmother's home, they are filthy and ragged in clothes and in being. Starving, they eat like animals, something their grandmother cannot comprehend and demands them to have manners. That is when Lore dissolves any connection to her Hitler Youth past and challenges her grandma. She returns to her room and destroys everything connected to the German Way.
The film is amazing, gripping, not a lot of violence but graphic. I kept wondering what is going to happen next? Then, how is this going to end? See it.