Some of us wear the identity we were given as a young child, while others wear the one they grew into and became when older. A child who was always told they were bad could grow up to be living proof of that statement. Labeled with a derogatory nickname like Chunky or Four Eyes can remain as part of a person’s identity throughout their lifetime; coloring many of their future decisions. Imagine an only child discovering years later their parent had children from a previous marriage; I wonder what that does to someone’s mindset? Last Oscar awards season after I saw the movie Saving Mr. Banks, I read a startling story about the author of Mary Poppins. If I remember correctly she adopted one child from a set of twin boys and never told her son he had a twin brother. Trust me I still cannot believe someone would do such a thing. You know though, they say there is this thing called karma and here is where it played out with the author. When her adopted son was a young adult his twin brother, after years of searching, walked up to him at a bar. As you may have guessed, the adopted son was stunned to discover he had a twin brother. Where I found this scenario to be tragically triumphant, the story in this alluring film festival winning movie was sadly startling. Set in Poland during the 1960s, newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska played Anna who was an orphan who grew up in a convent. The week before she was to take her vows to become a nun, Anna was told she had a living relative and would need to go visit her before her vows. When Anna met her Aunt Wanda, played by Agata Kulesza (Suicide Room, Rose), Anna found out she was not who she believed she was all these years. This black and white drama was beautiful to watch on the big screen. I found the camera angles told the story as well as the dialog; but the fact that the film made a square frame on the rectangular movie screen, creating an extra closeness with the audience, allowed us an intimate glimpse into the life of these 2 women. The acting was outstanding. The producers must have known these actresses were able to take a somewhat sparsely worded script and provide such richness to the scenes and story. What an amazing film and testament to the ability of humans to choose their identity. The dialog was in Polish with English subtitles.
3 1/2 stars