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The Zookeeper's Wife

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Czech Republic, United Kingdom, United States · 2017
Rated PG-13 · 2h 6m
Director Niki Caro
Starring Jessica Chastain, Daniel Brühl, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton
Genre Drama, History, War

In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska and her husband successfully run the Warsaw Zoo and raise their family in an idyllic existence. Their world is overturned, however, when the Nazis invade their country. To fight back on their own terms, the Żabińskis risk everything by covertly using the zoo's hidden tunnels and cages to save families from Nazi brutality.

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What are critics saying?


The Film Stage by

There’s something powerful to be read into every action, line, and image. Subtle yet striking, this is a film that is filled with the power of exquisitely executed storytelling.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Decency, in its raw, instinctive form, is ultimately what earns The Zookeeper’s Wife a place in the self-conflicted canon of Holocaust cinema.


The Hollywood Reporter by Jon Frosch

As with many other portrayals of this ugly period, the movie's central figures and their experiences have been cleansed of complexity, embalmed in a sort of hagiographic glaze that makes even the pain look pretty. Harrowing things happen, but it’s the easiest kind of "tough watch”; we know exactly what we’re supposed to feel and when we’re supposed to feel it.


The Guardian by Jordan Hoffman

All told The Zookeeper’s Wife is a story worth telling, even if there are a good number of not-so-hot spots along the way.


The Seattle Times by Moira Macdonald

It’s a remarkable story, told in a movie that doesn’t always quite live up to it; except for a few crucial scenes, The Zookeeper’s Wife feels a bit too soft-focus for the devastating story it tells.


Variety by Peter Debruge

There’s no nice way to put it in this case, but The Zookeeper’s Wife has the unfortunate failing of rendering its human drama less interesting than what happens to the animals — and for a subject as damaging to our species as the Holocaust, that no small shortcoming.


TheWrap by Robert Abele

The ?abi?skis were as unfailingly heroic as it gets, but memorably rendering a resistance shouldn’t be so resistant itself to the rough-and-tumble humanity of the details, and the unsentimental doom that shrouded it all.


Screen International by Tim Grierson

This considered, muted drama can’t escape a fussy tastefulness — not to mention inevitable comparisons to more crackling treatments of similar subject matter.

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