This movie is based on a book by Hans Fallada (whose book Little Man What Now I read forty years ago but still remember) that fictionalizes the real-life story of Otto and Elise Hampel.
I was struck by how quiet this movie is. Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson play Otto and Anna Quangel, whose only son is killed fighting for the German army. Their grief is so overwhelming that they cannot say it out loud. But Otto puts it into words, scratched out onto postcards, which he leaves to be found by others. His brief slogans of protest, signed ‘Free Press’ exhort people to rise up against Hitler. For all their simplicity and crudity, these postcards taken very seriously by the Nazis.
This is not at all an action movie. It’s quiet, slow and imbued with a quiet, threadbare dignity. Writing these postcards was a small and very, very dangerous act of resistance. I’d like to think that I’d be similarly brave, but I know that I would not be.
My rating: 8/5/10