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.