Starring Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, and Dawid Ogrodnik
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***
One of the more interesting aspects of Ida is that its two female characters are given a bit of depth and background, making them fully realized beings. At first, both seem like polar opposite stereotypes -- prudish nun and wild-child aunt -- but as the film progresses, we see that neither are exactly as their initial impressions would have us believe. The older aunt Wanda, in particular, is a character who is still lingering with me several days after watching the film. Unfortunately, I'd prefer not to reveal this character's secrets, but suffice it to say once her reasons for her current carefree ways are revealed, I found myself captivated by the struggles she went through in her younger days. Agata Kulesza is fantastic here -- slowly revealing her character's pain and anguish, and ending the film with such a jaw-dropping moment that while surprising also felt understandable thanks to the actress's fine work on display. A lovely, rich portrait of a survivor of a difficult era.
With its quick running time (under ninety minutes), Ida may be worth a shot for you if you don't often delve into foreign films. Yes, its pace is a bit slow, it's in black and white, and it's more interested in giving us quiet moments rather than talkative ones, but the story here is easy to understand and the two main characters give the audience someone to latch onto as we discover their family history with them.
The RyMickey Rating: B+