As war brews over in 1939 Warsaw, and while life is still running its course, the Germans are gradually making their presence felt, with Adolf Hitler secretly preparing for the invasion of Poland. Under those volatile circumstances, the couple of Jan Zabinski and Antonina Zabinska continue with their daily routine as owners of the Warsaw Zoo; however, their life's work, and the city, will turn to ashes when the Luftwaffe's horrific Stukas begin to hammer the capital. Now, with the zoo liquidated for the war effort, and many of its animals tragically perished, what was once a menagerie, will now serve as a sanctuary, where the pair of veterinarians can hide the persecuted Polish-Jewish people in plain sight. Indeed, that was the dangerous plan of the two altruists, who, regardless of the consequences, refused to wither before the Nazi menace, and sheltered three hundred Jewish men, women, and children right under the noses of the enemy. Will the world remember the zookeeper's wife?Written by
Director Niki Caro stated that her first film cut was nearly three and a half hours long, utilizing the entire screenplay. The final film was required to be two hours in length, and so an hour and a half was cut from the film in the editing room. See more »
At more than 52 degrees north latitude (farther north than Calgary Alberta Canada) Warsaw is far too north to have palm trees yet there are palm trees visible in the zoo in several shots, especially toward the end of the film indicating that those scenes were shot in a location much more southerly than Warsaw. See more »
People always want to run when they don't know what's coming. It's their first instinct, always to run.
See more »
Keeping it PG-13 makes it more powerful emotionally than seeing everything
I enjoyed The Zookeeper's Wife and would recommend it to most audiences. Skillful direction by Niki Caro, excellent sets and costumes, a slightly washed-out look to the cinematography which nonetheless has a full range of color, and a capable cast. The story is based on the actions of the owners of the Warsaw Zoo, who saved the lives of more than three hundred Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland.
Nonetheless, the performance of Jessica Chastain is the single most important factor in the film. Unlike many American actors, she understands that a Polish woman of the 1940s does not look, move, or carry her features like a contemporary American. So fully does Miss Chastain inhabit her character that I never had the sense of an actress making choices.
The film is a bit long and a bit slow, like most films today, but not to a damaging extent. I particularly admired the way that the official from the Berlin Zoo who becomes a Nazi officer, well played by Daniel Bruhl, has certain scruples and personal moral standards although he embraces the Nazi philosophy. He's a villain, but not a cardboard villain, and part of the suspense of the film is waiting to see which lines he will cross and which he won't.
42 of 58 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this