Google+

Holocaust Drama Recounts Daring Exploits of Heroine Who Save Hundreds of Jews

 

The Zookeeper’s Wife

Film Review by Kam Williams

Holocaust Drama Recounts Daring Exploits of Heroine Who Save Hundreds of Jews

In 1928, Dr. Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenbergh) became the director of the Warsaw Zoo. Over the next decade, he ran it  with the help of his wife, Antonina (Jessica Chastain), who was something of a wildlife whisperer. The institution flourished under their control until the outbreak of the Second World War in September of ’39 when Hitler invaded Poland.

The Zookeeper's Wife,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Dr. Jan Zabinski, Warsaw Zoo, Diane Ackerman, spine-tingling, quality performance

The zoo was closed to the public after being repeatedly bombed by the Luftwaffe during the siege of the city. However, the Zabinskis continued to live on the grounds with their young son (Timothy Radford) and the beleaguered animals that survived the attacks.

But once Warsaw was occupied by the Nazis, the couple was ordered to report directly to Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl), the Third Reich’s recently-appointed chief zoologist. Despite being married, Heck never bothered to hide his lust for attractive Antonina, shamelessly forcing himself on her as they attended to the agglomeration of exotic beasts scattered around the premises.

Knowing that resistance was futile and might cost her her life, Jan directed his wife to submit to the unwelcome advances. And he understandably ended up feeling utterly emasculated by the frustration of failing to prevent her being pawed by the creepy Hitler henchman.   

The Zookeeper's Wife,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Dr. Jan Zabinski, Warsaw Zoo, Diane Ackerman, spine-tingling, quality performance

Nevertheless, the  Zabinskis did find an avenue of retaliation in the Polish the resistance movement. Joining the Underground, they secretly helped smuggle Jews destined for the concentration camps out of the Warsaw ghetto. Furthermore, they hid the escapees on the grounds of the zoo at a time when death was the punishment for attempting to liberate a Jew.

This is the spine-tingling series of events chronicled by The Zookeeper’s Wife, a fact-based docudrama adapted from Diane Ackerman’s best seller of the same name. Ackerman’s book, FYI, had, in turn, been based on an unpublished memoir by Antonina Zabinski herself.

The Zookeeper's Wife,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Dr. Jan Zabinski, Warsaw Zoo, Diane Ackerman, spine-tingling, quality performance

Directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), the picture stars Jessica Chastain as the fearless and endearing title character. The two-time, Academy Award-nominee (for The Help and Zero Dark Thirty) delivers another quality performance here, which is no surprise given how Caro has previously coaxed Oscar-nominated performances out of a trio of talented actresses (Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand and Keisha Castle-Hughes).

A bittersweet biopic belatedly paying tribute to an unsung heroine who selflessly put her life on the line in the face of unspeakable evil.     

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated  PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, mature themes, smoking, sexuality and brief nudity

Running time: 126 minutes

Studio: Scion Films

Distributor: Focus Features

Source:  GIG News

Entertainment

For movies opening April 7, 2017

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening April 7, 2017 BIG BUDGET FILMS The Case for Christ (PG for mature themes, incidental smoking and medical descriptions of crucifixion) Faith-based docudrama based on investigative journalist Lee Strobel's (Mike Vogel) … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

  The President's Kitchen Cabinet The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by Adrian Miller University of North Carolina Press Hardcover, $30.00 292 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Jacob’s Banter!

  Jacob Latimore The “Sleight” Interview with Kam Williams Jacob's Banter! Jacob Latimore has been hailed by Variety, Indiewire and The Wrap as a young breakout star. Having emerged as one of the most promising talents of his generation, his upcoming films are from Academy Award-winning directors and writers where he stars alongside … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Catch More Bass in the Grass

  Catch More Bass in the Grass Fishing for bass in shallow, grassy lakes can be either incredibly productive or incredibly frustrating.  While most anglers associate aquatic vegetation with prime bass habitat, pinpointing specific locations to focus efforts can be quite the challenge in lakes with vast expanses of submerged grass.  In these … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

It’s Time to Play Ball!

  It’s Time to Play Ball! by Amy Lignor   As far back as you can remember, Major League Baseball’s Opening Day comes with pomp, pageantry, good food, excitement, and a whole lot of fun for the family. Cincinnati, home to the very first professional baseball team, will once again hold the annual Findlay Market Parade, making it … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Auto Sales Have Not Soared As First Predicted

  Auto Sales Have Not Soared As First Predicted by Amy Lignor   When 2017 first began, it was stated by financial and industry “experts” that the auto realm would continue to have yet another amazing year. 2016 was a thrill ride when it came to auto sales, yet now that sales figures have been released, there are many people surprised … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home!

  Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home! by Amy Lignor We speak about luxury vacations, budget vacations, vacations that are fun for the kids, and many more areas of travel at this time of year. But there is also a category that many do not touch upon because they “assume” it is far too difficult for those on a budget to be able to enjoy … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible … [Read More its Good For You...]

Health

Making Your Health “Resolute”

  Making Your Health “Resolute” by Amy Lignor   It is time for those New Year’s Resolutions to be made. We all know the ones most likely being placed on lists everywhere: stop smoking and lose weight. Why? Because these have always been the top two when it comes to goals, so that the next time the ball drops you feel amazing that the … [Read More its Good for You...]