It's an intimate film, with only several key locales, yet it possesses epic sweep and scope.
—Kevin Thomas Los Angeles Times
The restrained movie could've used a little more grand-scale drama, but as it is, it's a worthy and memorable exploration.
The film unfolds in the flashback scenes with the understated urgency of a Masterpiece Theatre episode, and even though it feels a bit too stagey, the direction is tight and the acting is very good.
—Matt Langdon filmcritic.com
As a treatment of yet another unexplored corner of the Nazi nightmare, the film is revelatory; needless to say it's also heartbreaking.
—Ken Fox TV Guide
The viewer is left both impressed by the gracefulness and subtlety of its effects and confused by exactly what the sum total of those effects are.
—Jay Antani Slant Magazine
Mawkish and manipulative, the film isn't worthy of its widely praised German director.
—V. A. Musetto New York Post
The story itself is fascinating, but the filmmaking too often is flat-footed.
—Leah Rozen People
Bumpily paced, it's overlong and freighted with a soppy, manipulative musical score.
—Elliot Stein Village Voice
Von Trotta lingers for so long on the backstory and framing story that the movie's heart never comes to the fore.
—Scott Tobias Onion AV Club
...revisits a relatively obscure episode from Germany's Nazi past to dismally inept effect.
—Manohla Dargis New York Times