Lives of Others is set in the Communist-half of a split Germany. The wall divides, poverty abounds, life is harsh. The Central Committee rules with an iron grip through the Ministry of State Security (Stasi) to stunt the bleeding of life to the West. Citizenry is monitored, speech is restricted, art is propaganda. The story is about the lives of two men who never meet: a Stasi agent and the writer he spies on. The writer is a national icon, untainted by treason, and beloved by the highest ranking comrades for his genuine glorification of the revolution. The agent is similarly ideological about the oath he has taken to protect the state and is suspicious of the writer because of his liberal friends. As the agent monitors the writer, he discovers the truth behind his mission: the writer is loved by an actress whom a Central Committee member covets, and the agent is tasked with finding or fabricating seditious evidence against the writer. Unfortunately, the writer seems to be truly sympathetic to the state that has treated him well. The writer's political ambivalence is challenged when an outspoken friend commits suicide because the state has banned him from artistic pursuit. The agent's faith in the state similarly falters as he observes the writer writhing with guilt about the state that had killed his friend but allowed him to flourish. The writer begins to write an anti-state work and the agent begins to anonymously protect him, even as the writer is ultimately betrayed by his girlfriend and the agent loses his career and livelihood in the process. The agent saves the writer from certain death and carries on an impoverished life after the wall falls. In the euphoria of new-found freedom, the writer, who had maintained his luminary literary status, researches his own Stasi file and realises his charmed life has been the result of protection from an unknown benefactor. The writer finds the agent, but does not make contact, instead, he pours himself into his art. Two years later, the agent finds out the writer has dedicated his new book to him, the unknown protector. The work is entitled Sonata to a Good Man, which is identical to the title of the music that the writer's friend had given him before committing suicide, hoping it would urge him to action, which it did, for both the writer and the agent, sending them on a trajectory to risk their lives for the freedom of others. The movie ends, the two men still never meet. The movie is a reminder that tyranny of others implicates us all, but it takes just one person to take a stand to precipitate its end. That one person must risk life itself so that others may avoid death. The ones who survive to see the new day must remember The Lives of Others who fell to the darkness, to carry on, to live a good life, and to never forget.