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The Zookeeper's Wife (2017)

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The Zookeeper's Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.

Director:

Niki Caro

Writers:

Angela Workman (screenplay), Diane Ackerman (based on the book by)
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Popularity
2,796 ( 51)
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Chastain ... Antonina Zabinska
Johan Heldenbergh ... Jan Zabinski
Daniel Brühl ... Lutz Heck
Timothy Radford ... Ryszard Zabinski (Younger)
Efrat Dor ... Magda Gross
Iddo Goldberg ... Maurycy Fraenkel
Shira Haas ... Urszula
Michael McElhatton ... Jerzyk
Val Maloku Val Maloku ... Ryszard Zabinski (Older)
Martha Issová ... Regina Kenigswein
Daniel Ratimorský Daniel Ratimorský ... Samuel Kenigswein
Frederick Preston ... Miecio Kenigswein
Theo Preston Theo Preston ... Stefcio Kenigswein (as Theodore Preston)
Viktoria Zakharyanova Viktoria Zakharyanova ... Stefania Keningswein (as Viktoria Zakharyanová)
Goran Kostic ... Mr. Kinszerbaum
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Storyline

War brews over Warsaw in 1939, and while life is still running its course, the Germans are slowly beginning to make their presence felt, with Hitler secretly preparing for the German invasion of Poland. Under those circumstances, the young couple of Jan and Antonina Zabinski continue their daily routine as owners and keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, but soon, as German Luftwaffe's Stukas hammer the Polish capital, their life's work together with the city, will turn to ashes. However, with the zoo liquidated for the war effort and many of its animals tragically perished, what was once an animals' zoo, will now serve as a sanctuary where Antonina, the humanist veterinarian, and Jan can hide the persecuted Polish Jews in plain sight until safe houses are found. That was Jan and Antonina's formidable, yet perilous plan, who regardless of the consequences, refused to wither before the Nazi menace, took matters into their own hands and sheltered 300 Jews under the Germans' noses. Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They gave all they had to save all they could See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, violence, brief sexuality, nudity and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Czech Republic | UK | USA

Language:

English | German | Hebrew

Release Date:

7 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Zookeeper's Wife See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,288,835, 31 March 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$17,445,186, 27 June 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the real life events occurred in Warsaw, the movie was filmed entirely in Prague See more »

Goofs

At 39 min when the pigs are arriving in to the zoo, behind the actors you can clearly see a truck made in the 2000's. See more »

Quotes

Antonina Zabinski: We have room... we could hide Magda there.
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Connections

Referenced in Za scénou: Martha Issová (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No. 18 in D, 2nd Movement
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Andrea Vavrusova
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User Reviews

 
A wasted opportunity by soap opera-like direction on a feature film
20 July 2017 | by danaimouSee all my reviews

The story itself is very intriguing, and could make for a great, interesting and touching film. Unfortunately, this movie fails on two main aspects, and it fails so badly that makes the movie barely watchable.

The most obvious is how unnatural the imposed accent while speaking English feels. It constantly takes the viewer's focus away from the actor's performances, and makes nearly every scene feel awkward and like it is made for a children's movie, which is in stark contrast to the main theme of the film.

Most importantly, the directing of the film is soap opera-like, where the characters constantly have to verbally express their thoughts and emotion, and explain situations through scripted dialogue, instead of letting good performances and good direction convey them. In way too many scenes, I found myself thinking about how more impactful the scene would have been if some dialogue was cut. In many cases this was so brutally obvious, it felt like a child was directing this film.

Case in point: A woman puts her son to bed and when she goes to close the window curtains observes something atrocious take place outside. The atrocity itself and the woman's reaction are enough to impact the audience. But then we are treated with the dialogue "Mama, who's shooting?" "Mama, they're shooting!" --> cries in mama's shoulder. This is basic stuff here, we know they are shooting, we just saw it. The only thing this next dialogue contributes to is to dilute the feeling of the scene. And this thing goes on throughout the film, where things happen and then people talk about the things we already saw happen.

I literally have seen better directing in the The Bold and the Beautiful! At the end, it just bores and leaves the audience unengaged. Except if you're my grandma. What a wasted opportunity!


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