Berlin Syndrome meaning takes a look at the dangerous side of one man’s obsession, when he takes his dreams and turns them into a nightmare for another person. This person, incidentally, is a woman – Clare (played wonderfully by Teresa Palmer) – a photographer and backpacker from Australia whose wanderlust takes her to Germany. After meeting the man, Andi (played by Max Riemelt), Clare agrees to spend the night with him in his apartment. Everything seemed fine until the morning after, when Clare discovers Andi’s sinister plan of keeping her imprisoned.
Kept isolated in his apartment where it is impossible for neighbors to hear or see her, Clare devices several plans to escape, including trying to break through double-paned and reinforced windows. Her phone is useless without the SIM card, which Andi took. To make matters worse, Andi seems unfazed by what he had done, acting as if Clare was supposed to be there, even giving her flowers and food.
Over the course of the film, we discover that Andi used to have a girlfriend named Natalie, who was Canadian. Apparently, they had broken up and she returned to Canada. During a visit to his father, Andi tells him that he has a new girlfriend named Clare.
We are given a peek at the psyche behind Andi’s conventionally handsome if blank facade. It turns out that he was bitter about his mother defecting to West Berlin before the Wall fell. He seems to be dreaming of the life they had back in what was formerly East Germany.
Meanwhile, Clare can’t seem to find a way out. An attempt to escape brings her as far as the courtyard but no further. It also doesn’t help that her captor is charming and outwardly trustworthy, being an English teacher at a local high school. Clare also discovers that she may not be the first woman that Andi has taken captive. If she can find a way out, it has to be sooner rather than later.
Berlin Syndrome meaning is a reference to Stockholm Syndrome, wherein a hostage develops an emotional and psychological bond with the captor during the time of captivity. What transpires between the hostage and her captor develops over the course of the film and it is with the sheer talents of the actors that we get to see how an unnerving and abnormal relationship gradually evolves as the months pass by. Although Clare never truly warms up to Andi, she lets him bathe her, cut her hair, buy her underwear, bring her food. But then again, what choice does she have? They perform a careful dance around each other that gives a semblance of a normal relationship, except that theirs is pernicious. One will likely destroy the other, sooner or later.