500 Days Of Film Reviews Ida And Finds A Stunning Film About Love And Betrayal


It is Poland, 1962. Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is a novice preparing to be a nun.


An orphan, she has been brought up by the nuns in a remote convent.


Before she is allowed to take her vows, she is encouraged to see her only living relative, her Aunt Wanda.


When the two meet, Wanda has shocking news. Anna is Jewish and, before her parents were killed during World War 2, she used to be called Ida.


Together, the two women go on a journey to discover what happened to their family and find out who they are and where they belong.

Is It Any Good?

Ida is a stunning film. Every frame felt to me like a beautifully lit and wonderfully composed photograph - one you might see in an art exhibition. 


That is not to suggest that Ida is motionless. Far from it. Director, Paweł Pawlikowski, wastes no time introducing his powerful story. Within minutes, Anna/Ida leaves her convent and begins what will be a truly heartbreaking road trip.



Much of the emotional power of Ida lies with its two central performances. 


Agata Trzebuchowska is superb. Her performance is still and contained - her huge eyes are ever watchful. Despite her lack of outward emotion, I was in no doubt of her pain, her internal struggle and her growing wonder about the world outside the convent.


On her journey, she meets a handsome saxophonist called Lis (Dawid Ogrodnik). Their relationship is both charming and optimistic. Lis represents the life Ida could lead if she were to turn her back on her religion.  



In contrast to Trzebuchowska’s Ida, Agata Kulesza’s Wanda is brash and volatile. While Ida is the epitome of self-restraint, Wanda has no trouble raging against the world. Using drink and men, she attempts to hide from the truly horrific events of her past. 


Tragically, however, neither woman can escape their family’s history - or the history of their county. They have been betrayed and will be forever changed by their journey.


Random Observations

I appreciate that a black and white, foreign language film about the impact of Nazi Germany is a tough sell. However, I would still recommend you watch Ida. I am so glad that I did...


Ida won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2015. 


The film was released in Poland in 2013 and won many awards in the country. However, the Polish Anti-Defamation League called the film anti-Polish and historically inaccurate. The group demanded Ida carry title cards to remind viewers that the country was under occupation by Nazi Germany at the time the tragic events in the movie took place. Pawlikowski rejected this demand.


Have you seen Ida? If you have, what did you think of this film?


Do leave me a comment in the box below!

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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