The Zookeeper’s Wife
A wonderful true story of optimism, heroism, kindness, and bravery. All set during the grimmest of times. The title of the film may be misleading for some. Don’t expect a lovely romantic film about the wife of a zookeeper. While part of that is true the zoo doesn’t have much to do with the premise of the film but is a key element in the rescue of hundred’ s of Jews during World War II in Warsaw, Poland.
The film is about an audacious zookeeper played by Jessica Chastain. It is 1939 in Warsaw and her zoo gets invaded by Nazi forces. Her animals are either killed or taken away and her zoo becomes a bit of a docking station for German troops. She and her husband are appalled by the killings of Jews so they devise a strategy to house many people and transport them to freedom. To top it all off, this is based on an incredible true story.
Jessica Chastain is fantastic as usual, accent and all. Her performance has real hear. Daniel Bruhl also excels in playing a despicable villain. The score is powerful and really complements the films emotional moments well. The film is two plus hours but just flies by. It never loses a beat from start to finish and there are moments that really get you on the edge of your seat or cringe at some of the hard to swallow moments.
There are many moments in the film that are un-comfortable as you would expect with a Holocaust era film. The film has to have dark and sorrowful moments but it builds to something wonderful near the end. The film will pull at your emotions which is a good indication of a powerful film. It does this without ever really getting overly sappy or overly sentimental.
While this film doesn’t tread any new cinematic ground, It does what needs to be done and it does it right. The story of the brave zookeepers who risked everything out of the goodness of their hearts is a riveting and heartfelt story that needed to be experienced. I love Chastain and think she nails another strong performance.