Ida

"Extraordinary"

Ida Review


After two striking British dramas (Last Resort and My Summer of Love) and a clever French mystery (The Woman in the Fifth), filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski returns home to Poland to tell a simple story that bursts with deeper meaning. It's a minor masterpiece, shot in pristine black and white in striking locations, anchored by provocative themes and beautifully textured acting. As it explores themes of history and faith, the film grabs hold of the audience in often startlingly resonant ways.

It's set in the early 1960s, as the young novice Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) comes of age in the isolated countryside convent where she was raised since early childhood. Her mother superior (Halina Skoczynska) tells her that she needs to learn about her past before she can take the vows to become a nun, so Anna heads off to find her only living relative, Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza). The first thing Anna discovers is that her real name is Ida and her parents were actually Jewish. Since Wanda never knew how they died, shea agrees to travel with Anna to the family's village to try and get some answers. But the local father-and-son farmers (Jerzy Trela and Adam Szyszkowski) are oddly reluctant to tell them the whole story.

Yes, Pawlikowski is exploring his nation's complex history, a complicated swirl of personal responsibility entangled with politics and religion. Anna's own story relates back to the days when Nazis overran Poland, and the Jewish baby Ida became the Catholic Anna to protect her from the concentration camps. But learning all of this makes Anna question what she should believe: the faith of her parents or the one she was taught in the convent? Meanwhile, Wanda has her own difficult past to deal with. As a former judge who helped prosecute criminals from the Soviet occupation, she's just as troubled by what she has always believed to be the truth.

The film cleverly draws out the differences and similarities between these two women. Trzebuchowska is outwardly serene as Anna, but brings out her powerful internal struggle with steely grace. Kulesza has the much more colourful role as the unsentimental Wanda, but reveals her darker side with real insight. Both of these women have made huge sacrifices that they need to face up to. So as they confront each moment of truth, the film is simply heart-stopping. It's also directed and filmed in a way that makes it feel like a timeless classic, gripping both as an unfolding mystery and as an inspirational exploration of the importance of accepting the truth, no matter how scary that might be.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 82 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th October 2013

Box Office USA: $3.7M

Distributed by: Music Box Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 109 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , Piotr Dzieciol, Ewa Puszczynska

Starring: Agata Trzebuchowska as Anna, Agata Kulesza as Wanda, Joanna Kulig as Singer, Dawid Ogrodnik as Musician, Adam Szyszkowski as Feliks Skiba, as Szymon Skiba, Artur Janusiak as Militia Man

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.