“The Zookeepers Wife”  –  9

In a word:  Intense

     First thing potential viewers need to know, this is a WWII story based on true events based in Warsaw, Poland, at the beginning of the war. It’s theme is much like Schindler’s List, which spiraled Oscar Schindler into a hero of sorts for saving the lives of hundreds of people from Nazi bullets, torture and ovens.  The characters of Antonina and Jan Zabinski, zookeepers at the Warsaw Zoo, are deftly played by Jessica Chastain and Johan Heldenbergh who also had saved hundreds of lives by hiding Jews in zoo basements over a five year period. Because it’s a true story, we are even more engrossed.

     Complete with Polish accent, Jessica Chastain plays the role of her life, worthy of an Oscar if only this movie was released in November, not April. Before the Nazi invasion on September 1st, 1939, life was good for the zookeepers. Chastain is portrayed with a number of otherwise wild animals that are her extended family, loving and caressing elephants, lions, camels and so much more. Then came the invasion of Hitler’s army which changed lives of millions.

     Scenes portrayed in the Warsaw ghetto were as realistic as any other movie in the same era. The film has all the elements of similarly made movies; fear, passion, panic, displacement, murder and hatred. We also learn that this gifted actress is an accomplished pianist.

     As the movie progresses into war’s end in 1945, it would be impossible for a viewer not to choke up when powerful emotions explode among the characters. If you’re sick and tired of profanity and sex, you’re in luck with this picture. I don’t recall the “F” word spoken once, nor were there any explicit sex scenes.

     Much of the dialogue is exchanged in whisper mode, which is tough to hear for most anyone, especially older folks. In a movie theater, if you miss the words, you can’t rewind.

     All in all, this was another powerful story about the holocaust, this time from the perspective of a woman whose job it was to love animals. The acting; Superb.

     I give this a 9 out of 10.

Click here: The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017) – IMDb


  1. Jan Siren April 10, 2017 at 9:57 am #


    I concur with your comments on the quality of”The Zookeeper’s Wife” as a drama. My concerns with this, and with other dramatization of Holocaust-era events, is about authenticity. For comparison, with regard to “The Diary of Anne Frank,” the author’s actual dairy survived the war so its (stage and screen) dramatization had to adhere closely to the events as seen through a teen-age girl’s eyes, and written down by her. With “The Zookeeper’s Wife” can we be as confident that what is prtrayed on the screen is properly respectful to those persons portrayed, no longer alive to confirm what we have viewed?

    Jan Siren

  2. Helen Bennett April 10, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

    So glad you like this movie, which I have been wanting to see. The critics were not enraptured by it, but I trust your judgment more than theirs.

  3. Louise Fischer April 10, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    The book was really good too.

  4. Just Me April 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    Thank you for the review. So glad this movie is not profane.

    I can’t express enough how much I admire those wonderful people like Schindler and also like the Zookeepers who risked everything, including their own lives, to save others. They
    deserve the thanks and appreciation of all people for their courage and love which helped them save the lives of so many.

  5. Laura Petruska April 10, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

    Liked the book but the movie actually sounds better. History that needs to be told and history that should not be forgotten. Gesund Pesach – today

    Thanks M. for a great review

  6. Peggy April 10, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Thanks for review. Don’t go to movies anymore because of profanity and smut. But wonder if I have the courage to witness violence and hatred. Tired.

  7. Peggy April 10, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Thanks for review. Im careful about the films I see anymore because of profanity and smut. But wonder if I have the courage to witness violence and hatred. Tired. By the way, The Case for Christ contained excellent acting and was first movie I’ve seen in years

  8. Anonymous April 10, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

    On my to do list.

  9. Steve Klein April 13, 2017 at 5:43 pm #


    I enjoy reading your commentaries!

    As I don’t want anyone to disparage your writing, I’d like to help
    you fix one minor mistake for the future:

    You wrote: “if only this movie was released in November, not April.”

    Correct (and not a distraction) would have been :” if only this movie were released in November, not April.”

    Glad to be of help.