Film Review: The Zookeeper’s Wife

This past week my mom and I went to theatres to see the film The Zookeeper’s Wife. My mom really wanted to see it, and after giving the trailer a view I agreed to accompany her as the story behind the film looked quite intriguing.

The film is based off of a non-fiction text written by Diane Ackerman. Ackerman’s text tells the true story of Antonia Zabinska and her husband, Jan, a husband and wife who are directors of the Warsaw Zoo in Poland. After the German invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939, Antonia and Jan agree to transform their abandoned zoo into a hostel for approximately 300 Jewish individuals living in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.

The film starts Jessica Chastain as Antonia and Johan Heldenbergh as Jan, and furthermore Daniel Bruhl as Lutz Heck, a German zoo biologist turned solider. The opening scenes of the film were difficult to watch as they depict the bombing of the Warsaw Zoo and many of its animals, however showing this graphic content certainly aids in enforcing the atrocities that occurred in Europe throughout the duration of the second world war. Chastain completely embodies the character of Antonia, and the selfless attitude and behavior she exhibits towards the Jewish persons she rescues is impeccable.

The film was well executed, and I am interested in reading the book now to determine whether or not the movie is accurate in its portrayal of Ackerman’s narrative. I believe the movie offers an inspirational and factual story about a Polish family who risked their lives to save innocent people.

As an animal lover, I certainly enjoyed the presence of many creatures in the film. I am happy I went to see this film and was exposed to the efforts of the Zabinska’s during World War II, and I commend them for their altruistic lifestyle.



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