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A three-year-old orphan is adopted by a German couple shortly after World War II. On his tenth birthday, he is told that his mother, a Yugoslav refugee, is alive and wants him back. The case must be decided in court, which must decide with whom the boy will be better off. Written by
The judgement of Solomon is a difficult one to make.
It shows how superficial my expectations are of a black and white film that I only watched this because I was ill, and it was either this, a cooking show or "Take the High Road" (an awful Scottish Soap.
What I found was a film full of believable characterisations that was not afraid to tackle a very difficult subject, where the true mother of a Yugoslavian boy raised by German foster parents during the Second World War returns to reclaim her child ten years later.
What makes the subject matter so difficult is the way in which the boy comes to be made available for adoption through the attrocities of the war. The two flashbacks are very well done, making you care about both of the women and the love they feel for the child - the subdued Yugoslav mother, speaking through an interpreter, refusing to betray her emotions in public having been scarred by her experiences, (I thought the short scene where she is in the church looking at Mary and baby Jesus was very revealing) and the German woman who has raised the child during his formative years.
The three judges from the American Control Commission are called upon to make the impossible decision, and the judgements that each of them decide, though different, ring true.
I was surprised by the abruptness of the ending, wishing to see what Toni would do in later year, but that is my only criticism of this film.
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