My Name Is Sara (2019) Poster

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Excellent movie about a young woman in a foreign land
Red-1253 October 2021
My Name Is Sara (2019) was directed by Steven Oritt. It stars Zuzanna Surowy as Sara. Sara is from Poland. Her family is destroyed by the German occupiers, but she manages to escape over the border into Ukraine.

Sara is able to convince the farmers that she's Christian. (It's not clear whether they believe her, or whether they just need another farmhand.)

This is more than just a survival movie. The farmers are not just a downtrodden mass of people under attack by the Germans and the partisans, both of whom want the food from their farm. Relationships are complex and every action is fraught with danger.

Zuzanna Surowy's performance is amazing. You really believe her as a brave young woman who promises her mother that she will survive the Holocaust. I was surprised to learn that Surowy wasn't a professional. She's a first-time actor who still manages to carry the film forward.

My Name is Sara has an appalling IMDb rating of 6.4. This is one of the films about which I write, "Did those people see the same movie that I saw?" I consider the film to be outstanding, and rated it 9.

We watched this movie virtually,, courtesy of the excellent Rochester Jewish Film Festival.
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A hidden gem
dereklambe3 May 2021
This is a great movie, with a wonderful lead. Rather than a war story, it is more of a character study. A really interesting and enjoyable film and it certainly deserves a lot higher than the 6.3 rating it has. Possibly many of those of who watched it thought it would be a war movie with lots of action and were disappointed, so they gave it a poor rating.
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Exquisite film!
carriepamcarrie14 February 2021
I loved everything about about this poignant, true story of SARA GÓRALNIK! I went to a webinar about how the movie was developed and filmed. It was painful for the real Sara Goralnik to talk about her life, but the film had voice. I felt it told the true story. The lead actress Zuzanna Surowy was chosen to play the part of Sara even though she had no prior professional acting experience and was in high school. Her portrayal showed exquisite depth. The other roles were well cast and realistically depicted. The characters were not admirable, but the actors showed that peer pressure and flaws of moral judgment cause people to act with disrespect, selfishness, and lack of empathy. Yet, at times you could see a moment of kindness in people who controlled Sara's life. Suzanna portrayed the inner strength of the real Sara who had promised her parents to survive. The cinematography was artfully and beautifully done. I am not a film critic, but I am a film lover. This movie told a story that needs to be experienced again and again so that the horrors of the Holocaust will "never again" happen!!! I highly recommend seeing it...I will never forget "My Name is Sara!"
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garethkeano-6935224 May 2020
The main actress who plays Sara pulls you in from the very beginning. You dont know what is going to happen and you want her to survive. Very good acting
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Survival story amongst pesants
sergius24818 April 2020
The film portrays the survival story of young Sara, portrayed with subtle intensity by Zuzanna Surowy. Amongst the horrors of the Nazi occupation, and the ferocious Jews persecution in the Ukraine the protagonist manages to escape pretending to be a gentile. The peasant she shelters with are not good or altruistic, they are just downtrodden people, fiercely attached to their land and traditions. While the cinematography and the direction is passable but not memorable and the story line somehow mundane, probably the better aspect of the production reside in the depiction of the local peasant society, of their perennial straggle against whatever power exploit them and their self-reliance. People that cannot afford to be generous or open-minded. There are only few acts of genuine altruism and many more of the opposite but the unsentimental and non-judgmental approach to the storytelling is refreshing, leaving the viewer to make up its mind on the grey morality of the real world.
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lucidskyline29 May 2021
This was a wonderful film. Had I known when watching it that it was a true story I would have been even more immersed. The Nazis and the persecution of the Jews takes a back seat to what is really a movie about people living in the country in that region during the war and the interactions between the lead character Sara and the other two main characters. The acting is completely believable. There is nothing contrived. Nothing felt like padding. So glad that movies like this are being made. A true education about human beings.
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Touching and heartbreaking
trinaboice10 July 2022
IN A NUTSHELL: MY NAME IS SARA tells the true-life story of 13-year-old Sara Góralniak whose family was killed by Nazis in September of 1942. After a grueling escape to the Ukrainian countryside, Sara finds refuge in a small village, passing as a Christian, where she is taken in by a farmer and his young wife. She soon discovers the dark secrets of her employers' marriage, compounding the greatest secret she must strive to protect, her true identity.

Born in a displaced person's camp, Executive Producer Mickey Shapiro is the son of Sara Góralniak and Asa Shapiro. He is involved in multiple charities and organizations dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust, including Steven Spielberg's USC Shoah Foundation. Mickey credits his family history as the inspiration for his philanthropy.

The film was written by David Himmelstein and directed by Steven Oritt.

THINGS I LIKED: I'm always fascinated by WWII movies, not just the action flicks, but also ones like this that show the human drama in the everyday lives of the people who tried to survive the atrocities of the times.

Most audiences won't recognize anyone in the cast. I'm always happy to be introduced to new actors in the industry. For the most part, the acting was very good. The cast includes Zuzanna Surowy, Pawel Krolikowski, Michalina Olszanska, Eryk Lubos, Aleksandra Pisula, and Ksawery Szlenkier, among others.

Zuzana Surowy plays Sara and does a fantastic job, especially considering she had no acting experience and had never been in a movie before! It's fascinating to watch her transform from a frightened young girl to one who finds the inner strength to do what she must to protect herself.

Every scene looked very realistic and plausible. This is not a sanitized story, but one that paints a bloody, honest depiction of how poor peasants lived in Ukraine during WWII.

The film does a great job of showing everyday country people who are just trying to survive World War II. It takes a very non-judgemental approach, revealing that we never know what we'll do in a situation until we are living in it.

None of the characters are without flaws. They are revealed to have dark secrets and we see their personal struggles each day.

This movie is especially painful to watch knowing that current Ukrainian people are being murdered and driven from their homes by the Russians at this very moment.

THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE: Many of the scenes occur at night, which might make it hard to see while watching on a small device once the movie goes to streaming.

The movie begins with subtitles, but then quickly becomes a movie with spoken English. Some viewers might be worried it's a foreign film that will be hard to understand.

So much spitting! Ha ha Sometimes it's just grimy men doing their thing, while other times, it's a political statement.

There are a few bad acting moments.

The filmmaking is fairly basic and simple.

It attempts to tell "the hero's journey" but without the traditional story arc.

TIPS FOR PARENTS: Some profanity Talk of German Nazis Full frontal female nudity of prisoners You see an unmarried couple having intimate relations, although you don't see skin or details You see dead people hanging from a tree You see dead animals and bloody rabbits caught in a trap We see people shot to death.

THEMES: Survival Religion War Selfishness Honesty Self-protection Family Inner strength Self-reliance Relying on the land The value of human life

You can see the full review on the Movie Review Mom YouTube channel.
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gabby-123428 August 2021
That took my breath away! Very good acting, very good story line. You must to watch it for sure .
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Outstanding movie
ewgers2 June 2021
This one is worth watching .Superb intensity throughout .Can not believe ,this has not rated more highly in the reviews.
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True story of survival in Ukraine
tchjunk26 March 2022
Outstanding sweep of the complexities of surviving in wartime. The fact that it is a true story adds needed perspective to how vulnerable everyone is when mad men reign. Particularly touching as we consider the current Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. I recommend this to everyone!
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liammcgibbon3 June 2021
Enjoyable film, the hole film is good and keeps you focused , based on a true story as well ,,,its mind blowing.
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Hard To Watch In Placex
malcolmgsw2 June 2021
Warning: Spoilers
This is a holocaust story set in a Polish village. It has to be said that most of the characters are quite in sympathetically portrayed other than Sophie and the village priest. Everybody is looking out for themselves and to avoid contact with the Germans. Misery is piled upon misery. The most uplifting moment being at the end when we learn of Sophie's survival. Her "revenge".
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a wholly absorbing, albeit emotionally distressing true story
Weirdling_Wolf20 June 2022
I have always had a profound respect and boundless admiration for those uncommonly resolute individuals who are somehow imbued with the indomitable intestinal fortitude that allows them to so courageously defy unspeakable tyranny, no matter how severe the cost, a laudable strength I manifestly DO NOT possess. Steven Oritt's witheringly tense WW2 drama is a wholly absorbing, albeit emotionally distressing true story about the resourcefully defiant young Jewish girl Sara Góralnik (Zuzanna Surowy), cruelly separated from her beloved family by the despotic, Ukraine annexing Hun; Góralnik's extraordinary will to survive, and uncommon strength is hugely inspirational to behold! A darkly fascinating, frequently disturbing journey into Sara's all-too precarious existence, engagingly written, captivatingly photographed, beautifully performed, and no less tastefully filmed. And the starkly oppressive sequence wherein the arrogant, inebriate Wehrmacht looted the family farm proved to be quite an unsettling interlude, since there was nothing remotely cartoonish about the performances, dully matter-of-fact, the degenerate German soldier's callously brutal treatment of the beleaguered family felt queasily realistic. Kudos to the creative cast and crew being able to make the harrowing experiences of an innocent teenage girl so hypnotically compelling.
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Touching personal story of Holocaust survivor and those who hid her.
tobydammit-21 January 2023
Okay, so why do we need one more film about a Holocaust survivor's story? After all, there are literally millions of true Holocaust stories to be told and at least a hundred of them have already been made into much grander productions than this poor boy sandwich (Schindler's List, to name only one obvious example). This is a very personal film that not only looks at the Jewish victim but the dilemma of the Ukrainian farm family she fooled into taking her in. The Nazis were fanatically genocidal toward Jews, but they also brutally terrorized and took everything from the Gentile people whose lands they conquered. This film shows how miserable the Nazis made ordinary Ukrainians, but also shows how Jew-hatred was an intrinsic part of Ukrainian culture long before the Nazis came. Rather than show all Ukrainians as one-dimensional craven Nazi accomplices or one Ukrainian family as the good exception that proves the rule, they were shown as imperfect complex human beings with good and bad qualities just trying to survive in a Nazi-occupied hellscape that took over their lives. It deserves to be added to the library of great Holocaust films, and the fact that nearly everyone involved in creating it was from contemporary Poland is very meaningful.
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