So, just a heads up. This specific review was originally written at a time when I didn’t count on falling behind on reviews, so my solution was to cram them into a single post. However, I hated the way they turned out, so now I’m putting them into their own reviews. In short, this review is going to be crazy short. With that said, let’s carry on.
Cast: Jessica Chastain (MOLLY’S GAME , HUNTSMAN 2 , MARTIAN , and upcoming films X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX  and IT: CHAPTER TWO ), Daniel Brühl (7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE , CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR , BURNT , and upcoming films KINGSMAN: THE GREAT GAME  and MY ZOE ), Johan Heldenbergh (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), and Shira Haas (TALE/DARKNESS )
Directed by Niki Caro (MCFARLAND, USA , NORTH COUNTRY , WHALE RIDER  and is rumored to direct the live-action remake MULAN )
Written by Angela Workman
Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams (LIVE BY NIGHT , THE MARTIAN , and THE EQUALIZER )
Cinematography by Andrij Parekh (BLUE VALENTINE  and IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY )
This is my honest opinion of: THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE
Set in Poland 1939. Antonina Żabiński (Jessica Chastain) is a zookeeper along with her doctor husband Jan (Johan Heldenbergh) during the German occupation. While Antonina loves her job and caring for the animals, this is made complicated when German soldiers take up residence, specifically a German zoologist, Dr. Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl), who takes a fancy to Antonina, though he doesn’t act on his interests in her. But everything changes when the Germans start bombing Poland and much of the zoo is destroyed and its animals killed. To make matters worse, the zoo is used as a base of operations for the German forces, overseen by Lutz. As Poland is ravaged by German occupation, Antonina and Jan decide to use the zoo as a safe haven for those in the Ghetto who are kept from leaving, while constantly keeping up appearances with the Germans.
Now this, I liked.
First off, I love anything that Chastain does and she’s great here too, granted, I think that her accent sounds a little too stereotypical Russian, but I don’t have an ear for accents, so maybe she’s got it pitch perfect. I don’t know. Either way, good acting is what counts the most and Chastain’s got it down to a tee. Her aside, everyone’s great. Heldenbergh, Brühl, even young Shira Haas, who plays this young Polish girl who gets raped by German soldiers, gets saved by Jan and takes shelter in the zoo for quite a few years. She gives a haunting performance, perfectly mixing hatred and fear, but goes a complete 180 when she’s given a rabbit to hold, to which she glows. Who can blame her, right? Bunnies are cute. What the movie does exceptionally well is give this sense of constant discomfort. Even during the days where you think everything is safe and dandy, there’s always this looming threat of Germans making a surprise visit to kill everyone. I suppose the only real issue this movie has is that there are predictable moments. I can’t give anything away without spoiling, but let’s just say that someone disappears and it ends up exactly how you think it’s going to end up. I’m curious how historically accurate this story is and I can see myself looking it up and doing a little research to compare and contrast from the film. Overall, it’s not a perfect film, but it’s effective in delivering an interesting story and the actors are phenomenal. I recommend this for anyone interested.
My honest rating for THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE: 4/5