The Zookeeper's Wife iTunes Code
Extraordinarily good movie about a hero who saved
hundreds of Jews
By Christopher Schwinger on May 5, 2017
Jessica Chastain gives an extraordinary performance in The Zookeeper’s Wife, based on a true story. I don’t want to give away much of the story, and until I can read the book I won’t know which details were true and which weren’t, but it really is quite a special movie.
The Warsaw zoo is destroyed by the German invasion of Poland in 1939, but the zookeeper and his wife made it their mission to provide protection for Jews, hiding frequently from a creep (in the movie’s characterization, at least) named Lutz Heck, a real German zoologist played in the movie by Daniel Bruhl. The movie is filled with emotional tension, and the female director, Niki Caro, really understands how to tell a human drama. She directed McFarland, U.S.A. previously, which I like.
In this movie, keeping it PG-13 actually makes it more powerful emotionally than if we saw everything bad we are told about. The real zookeeper’s wife rebuilt the Warsaw zoo even though only about 6% of Warsaw’s population was still there by the end of the war. She and her husband helped save hundreds of Jews during the war.
Her story deserved to be told, and Jessica Chastain was a good choice to play her, with a very expressive face and a lot of versatility. Chastain also does well on the simple piano music she has to play in the movie; she learned piano just for playing in this movie.
(By the way, when I was visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014, she was the one star I got to see in person, at a red carpet event for A Most Violent Year, and she treated fans nicely.) This movie is really worthwhile and covers the full range of human emotions, thoughtfully and sensitively.