Making a tearjerker with the Holocaust as the background ought to be as easy as making a comedy in a banana cream pie factory. So why aren’t I crying?
For one thing, it’s too long. Needlessly long, with lingering shots that could have been cut by half. For another, it can’t decide which story it wants to tell. It keeps jumping back and forth between present day and the past, and even in the past the story is confusing.
And because it’s so slow, I have time to mull over some odd things.
It concerns a bit of history I didn’t know about, which is that Jewish spouses of Aryans were not rounded up in Germany with the rest. They were harassed and used as slave labor, but not sent to the camps. Then, in 1943, they were rounded up. The spouses mounted what was probably the only successful civil protest in the Nazi era, and eventually the spouses were released. So what we see is a lot of Aryan women standing silently outside the prison, and I wonder, Why should I care? I mean, I care about any injustice, but what about the 6 million others who weren’t so lucky as to have married an Aryan?
Then I begin to notice that all the Germans I see except those actually in uniform—and quite a few of those, come to think of it—are not really Nazis, not in their hearts. The worst you can say for most of them is that they’re going along. Where are the millions and millions of German civilians who loved Hitler, who were bone-deep Nazis and Jew-haters? They hardly make an appearance.
The worst thing that happens in this film is that the heroine is forced to fuck Joe Goebbels, which is certainly distasteful but hardly even ranks among the things other people had to do to get by. Think of the Jews whose job it was to cart the corpses from the gas chambers to the ovens. Shit, I’d fuck Goebbels to avoid that duty.