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Ida (2013)

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Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the German occupation.


Pawel Pawlikowski


Pawel Pawlikowski (screenplay), Rebecca Lenkiewicz (screenplay)
3,125 ( 657)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 69 wins & 84 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Agata Kulesza ... Wanda
Agata Trzebuchowska ... Anna
Dawid Ogrodnik ... Lis
Jerzy Trela ... Szymon
Adam Szyszkowski ... Feliks
Halina Skoczynska Halina Skoczynska ... Mother Superior
Joanna Kulig ... Singer
Dorota Kuduk Dorota Kuduk ... Kaska
Natalia Lagiewczyk Natalia Lagiewczyk ... Bronia
Afrodyta Weselak Afrodyta Weselak ... Marysia
Mariusz Jakus ... Barman
Izabela Dabrowska ... Waitress
Artur Janusiak Artur Janusiak ... Policeman
Anna Grzeszczak Anna Grzeszczak ... Neighbour
Jan Wociech Poradowski Jan Wociech Poradowski ... Father Andrew


Poland, 1962. Anna, an orphan brought up by nuns in the convent, is a novice. She has to see Wanda, the only living relative, before she takes her vows. Wanda tells Anna about her Jewish roots. Both women start a journey not only to find their family's tragic story, but to see who they really are and where they belong. They question what they used to believe in. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

poland | nun | 1960s | jew | convent | See All (184) »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »


Poland | Denmark | France | UK


Polish | Latin | French

Release Date:

25 October 2013 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

Sister of Mercy See more »

Filming Locations:

Lódz, Lódzkie, Poland See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,438, 4 May 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Agata Trzebuchowska, a student with no prior acting experience. See more »


When Ida is in a church, the priest seems to be getting ready to say Mass and we see a versus populum altar, which didn't become the norm until years later after Vatican II. The movie takes place in 1961 and the priest would have been saying Mass on the high altar. See more »


Lis: You've no idea of the effect you have, do you?
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »


24 mila baci
Music by Adriano Celentano
Lyrics by Lucio Fulci and Piero Vivarelli
Performed by Joanna Kulig
[Released in 1961 by Jolly Records (J. 2014)]
See more »

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User Reviews

It left me devastated
9 January 2015 | by yantrevaSee all my reviews

I've just watched Ida and it left me devastated, but not because of the topic or something. Beside the cinematography (which is also not without its flaws) and the perfect soundtrack, the movie is a mess. You will see some beautiful pictures with jazz and classical music in the background, but I guess that browsing an album of the stills while listening to a CD would suffice if you're so much into them. But what's actually wrong with this movie?

First, the Holocaust topic is so over-exploited and if you want to make a good movie dealing with that thematic you need either an extraordinary approach or a very special point to make in order to get a movie which is not too commonplace. This one has neither of both. The story is okay, no more, no less, but it does not suffice to cover up for the wrongdoings. I've been a big fan of the Polish cinema (although not Polish at all) and my impression always was that filmmakers managed to deal with such sensitive topics as national identity, generation gap, Holocaust, Christian faith, gender, socialism or post WWII trauma in such a subtle and elegant way, that after watching a movie I can't stop asking myself questions about my own existence and ponder on the movie experience. This one only left the "so what" expression on my face.

Secondly, the movie tries to deal with all the sensitive topics but is somehow delayed couple of decades. I guess Pawel Pawlikowski just liked the novel so much, that he wanted to see it on screen. He probably admired the filmmakers of the Polish film school and did it in the same fashion as they did at their time half a century ago (topics, aesthetics). The main difference is that at their time the questions this movie tries to raise were building on recent events. 2013 is simply too late and to imitate so shamelessly makes Pawlikowski's attempt to seem pathetic.

To understand, what I mean, watch "Pasażerka", 1963 Munk's masterpiece. A movie set in a concentration camp, but the Holocaust is not the main theme, rather it is the nature of human relationships and the interaction of characters. Also b&w, very Polish, very beautiful and enigmatic. Incomplete due to Munk's premature death, whole sequences are missing and since nobody knew what the original director's intention was, the movie is left unedited at these places, only with stills and voice- over commentary. That is original and memorable, but I can't say the same for "Ida". "Ida" reminds me rather of a German movie: boring, claiming to have some idea which the characters explicitly manifest with blank faces and no intonation. And the main theme is always Holocaust or WWII, because that's ze Germans' big lunacy, for which they think everybody hates them, although nobody really blames them nowadays.

Thirdly, the action is supposed to take place in the 60s or so. However, everything in the mise-en-scène reminds us that it is filmed in our days. The places they visited such as the hotel are supposed to be brand new at that time. Because that is what the socialist regime was to be proud of. They rebuilt the country after the war. Or if the party hadn't yet reached these God-forgotten places, we should have at least seen the remains of the prewar settings. What we see is typical post-communist decaying buildings and ambient, evoking socialist nostalgia and not necessarily lacking charm, but completely out of time and place. As is for the car Wanda drives. She is supposed to drive a shiny, brand new model, not that jalopy.

I guess this anachronistic elements forced the b&w cinematography. It seems classy, old, and covers the flaws of the mise-en-scène at least to a certain extent. This way you can almost immerse in the 60s atmosphere, I guess. As for the blank spaces over the heads of the characters I doubt it was some aesthetic whim, but sly and cheap way to conceal the clues of the 2010s present. The camera pointing to the sky reminds me of an amateur short movie some friends of mine made couple of years ago. They did it for three days in winter, but wanted some "summer" sequences and pointed the camera to the sky, in order to get the snow on the ground out of sight.

Low budget is really not an option if you want to make a movie about the past. You need to think about all the details and, hence, a large-scale budget to cover all the expenses. If you are on a shoe- string budget with 10 people crew, do something simple, not a historic drama.

The acting is okay. In contrast to most of the other reviews, I liked the performance of the actress playing Ida more than the one that played the aunt, since in Ida's reactions I could read all the words she left unspoken. The real problem was the complete lack of character development: the movie ended where it started, except for that both women had a revelation that a certain way of life is not really fulfilling. And the way they got their revelations was not even interesting. It seemed to me as if the crew was filming, they ran out of money, got bored or too cold and said "Oh come on, let's finish already, nobody is going to watch it to the end anyways."

In sum, I don't get what is all the excitement about this movie and why it got so many awards? It is surely watchable, but far from masterpiece or so.

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