Ida (2013)

9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Bleak and simple, great looking

More of a snippet of life than a rounded story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Ida

Studio:  Soloban

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  September 7, 2013 (Toronto International Film Festival)/September 11, 2013 (Poland)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Two great performances

Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is a novitiate about to take her vows and become a nun, but she has an unsettled past that she needs to resolve.  Ada learns that she is actually the daughter of Jews killed during the war and that she has an aunt Wanda (Agate Kulesza).  Traveling with Wanda, Anna is out to find the final resting place of her parents and learn how they died.  Anna is leaving her life with the order for the first time and experiencing a world she never knew existed.

Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, Ida is a Polish-Danish film and was released to great critical acclaim.  The movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film with a nomination for Best Cinematography.

Ida is set in an interesting time.  Poland is still recovering from World War II in 1960 and the past is still painful.  It is interesting to visit this period in the country’s history and the visionary look of the film has an old style that reminds me of classic foreign films.


Exploring another side of what happened to Jewish people during (and after) WWII

The story is extremely simple.  It doesn’t give any clues to its direction and doesn’t tell the viewer how you are supposed to judge the characters.  Anna seems to be almost a watcher most of the movie and makes very few observations on her situation while her aunt is really the thrust of the first part of the story.

Despite little dialogue, few lines, and a blank stare, Agata Trzebuchowska manages to be rather expressive in her silence.  Throughout the movie Agata Kulesza’s Wanda is more tortured by this experience and shows it outwardly while Agata’s character internalizes it.  Both characters deal with this pain in different ways and the fact that the viewer has to interpret this adds richness to the film.


The unique full screen framing leads to a different looking throwback movie

The movie is shot in “standard” version instead of widescreen.  It gives it a sense that it is an older film and the look of the movie reminds me of someone like Bergman in framing and look.  It has a really nice feel to the picture and makes it feel classic and more of the period in which it is set without losing the quality of a modern film.  The style of shooting gives the film a strange starkness which enhances the story.

Ida is a great film with a lot of depth.  It is one of those movies that you want to go back and rewatch for nuances of the characters and the story.  It isn’t easy, it’s slow paced, and leaves it up to the viewers to interpret its meaning.  With that type of storytelling, it feels very much like a classic art house foreign film, and I know that those terms are scary to many.  It isn’t much of a commitment at less than an hour and a half, but it is a rich experience.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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