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The Zookeeper’s Wife Review

The Zookeeper’s Wife
Writers: Angela Workman (screenplay), Diane Ackerman (book)
Directed by: Niki Caro
Reviewed by: Abe Lopez


This movie adaptation tells the story of Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who were keepers of the Warsaw Zoo during the invasion of the German forces in World War II. The Zookeeper’s Wife is executive produced and starred by Jessica Chastain, who delivers a powerful performance as Antonina Zabinski. The movie is just a little over two hours, but in that duration, the pacing is unfortunately inconsistent. The movie dragged on after the first thirty minutes, and the last thirty minutes seemed rushed. It’s not to say this movie wasn’t good, but it wasn’t great.

The story is based off true events and it does not fail to capture the human brutality in a time of global war. The animals are depicted as innocent creatures of purity that contrasts the abrasive human nature surrounding the Warsaw Zoo. Along with that, the compassion of the Zabinskis is brought to life with great acting by Jessica Chastain and her costar Johan Heldenbergh. It is refreshing to see heroism on screen without the usage of overshadowing CGI effects and action scenes. The zookeepers made a valiant effort to save hundreds of Jewish people’s lives from the cruelty of the Nazis. This movie is heavy, and can tug at your heartstrings at times in some very emotional scenes. Whether or not you’ve read the book or know the story, The Zookeeper’s Wife is worth a watch. It is currently showing at Liberty Hall.