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THE ZOOKEEPERS WIFE
Graeme Tuckett 4 Stars “Niki Caro’s tale is a rousingly good film.”
Whale Rider director Niki Caro teams up with two-time Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain (The Martian) for this adaptation of Diane Ackerman’s best-selling novel.
The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh), ran the Warsaw Zoo.
Between 1939 and 1945, Antonina and Jan Zabinski saved an estimated 300 people from almost certain death in the Warsaw Ghetto.
After the German invasion, they invented a ruse that would allow Jan to employ workers from the imprisoned Jewish population, who could then be spirited away under the cover of forged papers.
The Zabinskis used the empty buildings of the zoo, which had been bombed in the Nazi’s blitzkrieg attack on Warsaw, to hide and shelter their charges.
Directed by Niki Caro (‘Whale Rider’, ‘North Country’, ‘McFarland, USA’)
Starring Jessica Chastain, Daniel Brühl, Johan Heldenbergh, Iddo Goldberg, Michael McElhatton, Anna Rust, Goran Kostić
Written by Angela Workman (based on the novel of the same name by Diane Ackerman)
Drama, True Story & Biography, War, Historical | 127 mins M Violence | USA
THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC
Love and a garden blooms in in this British romantic drama.
– New York Observer “A charming, beautifully photographed modern fairy tale about love and gardening, This Beautiful Fantastic is worth seeing in spite of its dumb deterrent of a title.”
A young aspiring author (Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay) and a cantankerous, rich old widower (two-time Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson) begin an unlikely friendship.
When Bella (Findlay) is forced by her landlord to deal with her neglected garden or face eviction, she meets her nemesis, match and mentor in Alfie Stephenson (Wilkinson). This grouchy, loveless old man who lives next door is an amazing gardener.
San Francisco Weekly “Simon Aboud’s whimsical yet slight This Beautiful Fantastic is the latest in the English Garden subgenre, in the vein of The Lady in the Van or A Man Called Ove (which is Swedish but still qualifies).”
NZ Listener 3 Stars “A Downtown star and Tom Wilkinson make for a garden variety odd couple.”
Directed by Simon Aboud (‘Comes a Bright Day’)
Starring Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Wilkinson, Jeremy Irvine, Andrew Scott, Anna Chancellor, Charlotte Asprey, Eileen Davies, Sheila Hancock
Written by Simon Aboud
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance | 92 mins Rating: PG Coarse language | UK, USA