A Difficult Birth
Set in the heart of Nazi Germany, Charite At War depicts the harsh reality of life working in a hospital under the Nazi regime with enough romance, melodrama and tension to keep you watching until the end. Although some of the plot points don’t always hit their mark, the accurate depiction of the 1940’s, right down to the medical terminology and costume design, do well to really take you back in time to this world. If you’re looking for a good period drama revolving around the medical profession and set during World War II, you can’t really go wrong with Charite At War.
We begin this six part series in 1943, with medical student Anni Waldhausen showing her brains straight away before asking to use a recent patient for her dissertation. Meanwhile, her brother Otto begins working as a Doctor after being pulled back from the German front line. From here, the series weaves different subplots together including a romantic angle between Otto and Nurse Christell, Anni’s investigation into hidden secrets her husband is keeping from her at the hospital and an overarching narrative involving the turning tide of war and what this means for the hospital and its residents.
Full of forbidden romance, melodrama, hospital medical stories and a few plot twists for good measure, Charite At War has plenty going on in its six episodes and there’s enough characterisation to keep you engrossed in this one. Anni plays off the strong female archetype perfectly while Otto’s difficulties coming to terms with the war work well to show the profound effect WWII had on soldiers at the time. Of course, with it being a medical series expect plenty of injuries, surgeries and everything in between but Charite At War is never gruesome or gory for the sake of it, doing well to minimize the exposure to this which is a nice touch.
Instead of traditional establishing shots, Charite At War includes a really interesting technique of using archival film reel footage from the time. Although these don’t do anything to advance the story, and predominantly just show some shots of a bustling street, they do well to set the tone and mood of the series and it’s something I’ve not seen before from a period drama, much to the credit of this show.
The blending of both the medical profession and historical period drama worked really well in Charite and the same can be said here too. Although I wasn’t 100% sold on the romantic subplots and at times the episodes do feel a tad too long, there’s enough here to make for an interesting and highly enjoyable show nonetheless. If Charite At War teaches us anything, it’s that war is brutal and its casualties reach a lot further than just the soldiers on the battlefield. Although I personally preferred Charite, Charite At War has enough going for it to make it an easy show to recommend if you’re looking for a good historical drama fix.
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Verdict - 7.5/10
2 thoughts on “Charité at War – Netflix Season 1 Review”
I am a gay man, happily partnered for decades, with supportive friends, family and having achieved some satisfaction in my career and contributed to the betterment of my community. However, it was not always like this. When I was young, growing up, there was no positive representation of LGBT realities in media, arts, tv and life was very difficult in the closet. I was terrified of what my life might be due to the pervasive and very real homophobia that was everywhere and which I personally experienced. The reality of Otto and Martin’s story is hardly irrelevant to the realities that LGBT people in Nazi Germany, (as well as most countries at that time including the allied nations) faced with their love and mere existence being criminalized. In Germany it was clause 175 of the Criminal Code which dated to Wilhelmine Germany. Ditto for the UK, Canada, the USA and many other countries. The Nazi took their persecution further to the point of seeking to exterminate LGBT people, as they did with other human beings they considered subhuman, chiefly the Jews, but also the Roma/Sinti, various slavic peoples, (this list is not exhaustive). The pink triangle, which is a symbol used by LGBT people, has its origins in the Nazi concentration and death camps as a symbol meant to identify prisoners who were detained due to the sexual orientation. So in response to suggestion that their relationship “does nothing for the plot. It’s like we need to be reminded that …. well….there really are homosexuals”, in fact, yes we do need to be reminded. Becuase they were victims of this regime as they have been victims historically of many different societies and continue to be victims and/or voiceless, in many countries today. And having represention of what it was like for gay men in Germany under the Nazi’s (and in
west Germany for decades more) is important, not just to me, but to countless young LGBTQ people who might realize they are not alone, and that people like them have been present throughout history. Unfortunately, your comments indicate to me that you level of acceptance and understanding of anyone different from yourself is quite limited, and perhaps, rather extends toward hatred, disgust and enmity. I struggle to understand why this might be with any person, (although there are many explanations, knowing nothing about you, I won’t hazard to guess what might lie at the root of your disdain). I merely seek to provide some context as to why this aspect of the plot is both relevant historically as well as in the present day. I would be happy to engage in this discussion further if you have a genuine desire to understand that people different from you are as deserving of respect, compassion and the same rights that you take for granted. Peace
I liked it. Well done but the fact that Otto and buddy are homosexual does nothing for the plot. It’s like we need to be reminded that ….well…there really are homosexuals. 8ts like showing infantryman sneaking back to the rear to load magazines. They really reload magazines? Back to the movie. The medical people were gutsy. They still treated wo.en like 2nd class citizens unless they were democrats…uh ah…sorry…i mean Nazi hierarchy. Superbly acted…well researched. BTW I really div the professors wife. Sexy and smart…