Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Lore,' 'Leonie' Travel to Earlier Times

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Lore,' 'Leonie' Travel to Earlier Times

Article excerpt

A look at other movies opening today:


Critic's Call: * * * 1/2

The sins of the father and the mother are visited upon the children in ways none of them could imagine in "Lore," which opens in spring 1945 as the German resistance is collapsing.

Other than coping with the absence of their SS officer dad, teenager Lore (Saskia Rosendahl) and her siblings -- an infant brother, mischievous twin boys and a younger sister -- have been largely untouched by the ravages and realities of war.

That is about to change when their father shoots the family dog and hustles everyone away to a remote farmhouse. They can run but they cannot hide, and when both parents disappear, it's up to Lore, just 14, to try to keep her siblings alive, fed, safe and on the path to their grandmother's 500 miles away.

She starts the journey as a staunch Hitler supporter and ends it as something entirely different, a young woman hardened by loss, physical hardship and deprivation, realizations about the "truth" according to the Fuhrer, dependence on a stranger (Kai Malina) she loathes and desires, and the potentially soul-crushing price of freedom.

"Lore," directed and co-written by Cate Shortland, is based on the novel "The Dark Room" by Rachel Seiffert, the daughter of a German mother and an Australian father. The author was inspired by family stories, particularly her mother's experiences as a girl raised in a Nazi household.

It's rare that a movie dealing with such weighty topics relies so heavily on young children (with the baby often crying on or off cue) but the unsentimental "Lore" pulls it off, thanks in part to Ms. Rosendahl in her second feature film role.

She seems like a cross between a young Scarlett Johansson and Michelle Williams, moving from innocence and obedience to bewilderment and unspoken rage. It's no accident that some fragile treasures are symbolically smashed; like the past and the family, they can never be made whole again.

In German with English subtitles. No MPAA rating but R in nature for violence, sex, nudity and adult subject matter. Opens today at the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill.


Critic's Call: * * 1/2

"Leonie" uses the tools (or crutches) of narration and a story that jumps in time and place with identifiers at the bottom of the screen to compress three dramatic decades into 102 minutes. …

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