Film Review: ‘Lore’

Saskia Rosendahl plays the daughter of Nazis in "Lore," out now. CREDIT: Music Box Films
Saskia Rosendahl plays the daughter of Nazis in “Lore”
CREDIT: Music Box Films

Director: Cate Shortland
Stars: Saskia Rosendahl, Kal Malina
Rated: R
3 (out of 5) Globes

Though doing this has never done anything to diminish its power as a cultural force, there are those who don’t mind pointing out that “Gone With the Wind” concerns the end of the Civil War from the wrong side. The new film “Lore” is even more bold: its protagonists are the children of a Nazi SS officer and his just as passionate wife. It’s a sympathetic portrayal, however, only in that these are people struggling to find a new identity after their old one had finally been revealed as, to put it lightly, wrong.

As mom and dad are scuttled off to certain death, their titular teenage daughter (Saskia Rosendahl) is forced to tend to her three much younger siblings. They are all products of a cloistered existence, and thus prone to traits that have, in Germany during Year Zero, become suddenly, shall we say, gauche. Traveling 500 kilometers to their grandmother’s Hamburg home, switching from opulence to begging for scraps of food from disapproving citizens, they team up with a young Jewish survivor-type (Kai Malina). Even as he’s protected them (or tried to), Lore can’t help but shoot him an anti-semitic slur, even as he awakens in her feelings both intellectual and sexual.

“Lore” doesn’t shy away from reminding us of our characters’ bad side, even as it spends most of its time humanizing them. Aussie director Cate Shortland previously made the 2004 character study “Somersault,” and “Lore” is likewise tastefully observational. Her filmmaking is heavy with sensual long lens shots where only specific items in the frame are in focus, her actors directed in a purely visual manner. “Somersault” featured a fantastic performance from then-unknown Abbie Cornish (plus a not bad one from another newbie, Sam Worthington), and it was one largely sculpted from takes of her mostly doing everything but talking. Rosendahl, who looks uncannily Cornish-ish, is a similar find, her performance all in her face, not in her words.

Life in Germany immediately after the fall of the Nazi Party is not terribly well-covered, in general and particularly in film. Even the so-called “rubble films” — downer, documentary-style dramas from the late ‘40s, set amidst a society plagued by devastation both physical and psychological — tend to skirt the real issues. “Lore” deserves points for “going there,” even if it sometimes reduces its Nazi youth characters to victims of a mean German populace. It’s a touch too pat: Lore goes from ignorant to enlightened, politically and sexually. But more often than not it gets it just right.


Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.


Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.


Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.


Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.