World War II. No one can deny that was one of the greats atrocities of our time. It’s part of the reason that I love learning about history – so I can do my part to make sure that none of that ever happens again. I like to learn about World War II because my family is from Germany and I know what they lived through. I want to know about the heroes and the villains – I want to know about the millions of Jews that were senselessly murdered, because they deserve to be honored and remembered. I also want to know about those that hid the Jews from the Nazi’s. They are heroes to me.
The Zookeeper’s Wife was a no brainer for me to see. Antonina Żabińska and Dr. Jan Żabiński were heroes, ones that I had never heard of, but ones who I was intrigued to learn about.
The Zookeeper’s Wife tells, “The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh of “The Broken Circle Breakdown”), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are stunned – and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl of “Captain America: Civil War”). To fight back on their own terms, Antonina and Jan covertly begin working with the Resistance – and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.”
Here’s what really stood out to us in the movie.
We all know that Jessica Chastain is a superb actress and she doesn’t disappoint her either. The actress steals every scene that she’s in, but two scenes stood out for me – one at the beginning while saving the life of a baby elephant and the other while helping a Jewish girl that they had saved recover from a traumatic experience. Chastain shined in these scenes.
I love zoo’s. I however, did not know the story of the Warsaw Zoo and the Żabiński’s. The zoo was a beautiful setting, that would leave a weight on my heart as we saw it bombed and destroyed. Then again when we saw animals killed.
THE COURAGE OF PEOPLE AND THE STRENGTH TO SURVIVE
I can’t even imagine what it was like to live back then. I can imagine fear, but not on the level that they experienced. But what moved me about The Zookeeper’s Wife is that it is a true story and one that is important to be told. The story boils down to decency – the want to help other humans, because what is happening is not right. The courage to know that if you get caught helping people then it could mean the end of your life and theirs. The courage to flee, knowing if you are caught escaping, then your life could be over. There wasn’t a moment in the movie that didn’t hit home. You were watching the story of people – the ones hiding the Jews and the ones being hid. The Żabiński’s saved over 300 Jews. That is something amazing.
When you watch The Zookeeper’s Wife one thing that you will notice automatically is that it is beautifully shot. It’s stunning. Some of my favorite scenes were the ones without dialogue. Being transported into the movie and feeling like you were there, was stunning.
Overall, The Zookeeper’s Wife was a learning and a moving experience. It’s a story worth telling and one worth seeing.
The movie hits theaters March 31st.