In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski - great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor - runs the tailor shop she's owned for more than thirty...
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In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski - great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor - runs the tailor shop she's owned for more than thirty years. But when she's served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, BIG SONIA also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.
"Big Sonia" is an uplifting story of resilience. In a Kansas City Star article, Eric Adler described "Big Sonia" as a story "of modern-day survival — how a tiny woman, time and again, after facing her own death and then that of her husband, is nonetheless able to reinvent herself and find hope and meaning in life."
Sonia's example of shunning hate serves us all well, a universal theme for all eras, as discussed in a KC Star article by Melinda Henneberger.
My favorite scene shows the reactions (to Sonia's comments) of long-term inmates in Lansing Correctional Facility. It tells you a lot about these prisoners as well as about Sonia.
The film also reminds us of the "dark side" of humanity, creatively using Sonia's doodles to give glimpses of the sordid history of her six years in concentration camps. Many viewers have praised the use of drawings rather than photos or recreations.
Sonia's children's comments provide valuable insights into the subtle impact of atrocities on succeeding generations.
I marvel that Todd Soliday was able to edit more than 600 hours of tape into a 93-minute movie. The stuff on the cutting room floor must have been heart-wrenching to drop.
When confronted with troubling occurrences in other countries, too many of us presume "that could never happen here". "Big Sonia" reminds us that we must remain vigilant and be willing to act to preserve freedom for fellow citizens, as well as ourselves.
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