Two traumatic events affect the life of East Berliner, Christiane Kerner. First, in 1978, her husband, Robert, runs off to freedom and another woman in the west, leaving her to take care of their two adolescent children, Ariane and Alex, by herself. Always a good Socialist, Christiane devotes her life to the cause as a symbol of anger toward her husband. And second, in 1989, she sees a now grown Alex marching in an anti-Berlin Wall demonstration and being hauled off by police. As a result, she suffers a heart attack and goes into a coma. While Christiane is in her coma, Germany drastically changes with the Wall coming down and the imminent official reunification of East and West into one. The Kerner's personal life also changes with all aspects of the new found capitalist world infiltrating their home. When Christiane emerges from her coma eight months later, her health situation is still tenuous. Any shock she experiences could possibly lead to another heart attack and certain death. To protect his mother, Alex decides not to tell her of the new Germany in which they live. He feels he can better protect her at home, where he can control to what she is exposed. Although most around him don't support the idea - including Ariane and Lara (Alex's Russian immigrant girlfriend who is also Christiane's nurse) - they go along with the extreme measures Alex goes to to recreate East Germany in their home. How long can they keep up the ruse?