Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Epic New Trailer For Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' With Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, & More Watch: Epic New Trailer For Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' With Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, & More The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Review: 'Lore' Is An Evocative & Enigmatic Look At Post-WWII Moral & Emotional Fallout

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 6, 2013 at 8:04PM

With her beautiful and expressive debut feature film "Somersault," writer/director Cate Shortland established herself as a filmmaker with a sharp sense of the emotional complexities of young women. And now, eight years later, she returns with belated follow-up effort "Lore," another tale of a young woman not only navigating her burgeoning sexuality, but the emotional and moral fallout of post-World War II Germany, all while she battles to keep her family together and alive as power in the country changes hands.
1
Cate Shortland's 'Lore'
Cate Shortland's 'Lore'

With her beautiful and expressive debut feature film "Somersault," writer/director Cate Shortland established herself as a filmmaker with a sharp sense of the emotional complexities of young women. And now, eight years later, she returns with belated follow-up effort "Lore," another tale of a young woman not only navigating her burgeoning sexuality, but the emotional and moral fallout of post-World War II Germany, all while she battles to keep her family together and alive as power in the country changes hands.

When we first meet Hannelore (Saskia Rosendahl) and her siblings, they are already on the move. It's spring 1945, Hitler is dead and the Nazis are on the run. Vati, her SS father, and Mutti, her mother, burn documents, taking anything of value they can, and pack everyone up and move out to a cabin the country. But allied forces are moving in, and it isn't long before Lore is left to lead her young charges to safety. Given money, items to bargain with and a plan of action by her mother before she voluntarily goes in to give herself up, Lore begins a cross country journey to bring everyone to their grandmother's house in Hamburg.

Lore, Cate Shortland

And while "Lore" does stick to the expected template of a point A to point B journey or adventure (for lack of a better word), Shortland's interests thankfully lie elsewhere, contributing to the film's more resonant character texture and depth. Lore has essentially been raised under the ideals and concepts of the Nazi party, but as it becomes clear that Hitler's vision of Germany will come to naught, everything on which her belief system has been built begins to crumble. Images of mass graves and concentration camps are posted in towns and villages, giving Lore a bracing perspective of the war she's never seen or heard before. And combined with her own coming of age, particularly in a moment when sex is being used both as currency and as a blanket of security, Lore struggles to make heads or tails of her world.

Complicating matters is the arrival of Thomas, a Jew, who provides for and protects Lore and her siblings, with a vague idea of what he looks to gain out of the matter. He makes no secret of his attraction to Lore, but stops short of taking advantage of her. And while his care and concern over the younger ones is seemingly sincere, he's aloof enough that he could likely decide to go back out at any moment. It speaks to the temporary and uneasy alliances of the time, and clearly Lore grapples with both his assistance and distance, complicated by her longstanding training that Jews can't be trusted.

Lore Shortland 5

It's a heady mix of thematic ideas, and while compelling, Shortland misses fully delivering on them thanks to an approach that at times can be coldly enigmatic. Gorgeously shot by cinematographer Adam Arkapaw ("Animal Kingdom," "The Snowtown Murders"), Shortland takes an almost Terrence Malick-level interest in the rural surroundings that Lore, Thomas and the group traverse. Animals are of particular interest, with snails, turtles, chicken, fish, sheep, crabs and more getting patient attention from the camera. And numerous shots of trees waving in the breeze, fields undulating in the afternoon and clouds rolling across the sky suggest nature as a spectator to the horrors happening around it.

And as lovely as all this is, it sometimes comes at the expense of continuing to explore the characters and their struggle with understanding and surviving everything that has changed so monumentally around them. This isn't helped by Shortland's cryptic approach, which almost completely internalizes Lore's turmoil, masking motivations that would've added greater impact during key moments, rather than giving them a slightly unsatisfying air of mystery.

While a film of great craft, strongly performed by the cast across the board, and particulary by the lead, newcomer Saskia Rosendahl, "Lore" never lets the audience in close enough for it to be a truly embraceable picture. It's certainly admirable, and we've rarely seen a WWII film approached from this angle, but one wishes "Lore" would let the audience in a bit closer. [B-] 

This is a reprint of our review from TIFF 2012.

This article is related to: Lore , Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates