One Life (PG) ★★★★

“One Life” is a heartwarming film I screened during the Toronto Film Festival; it stars Anthony Hopkins as Nicholas Winton, an English stockbroker in a true story. In 1938 he helped save over 600 children during the holocaust by transporting them mainly by trains from Prague to London to escape death at the hands of the German Nazis.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, as Nicky Winton

The story takes place in two time periods. In 1987, the older Nicholas Winton is looking back on his life to determine if he could have done more to save the children. In 1938, Johnny Flynn plays the younger Winton as a determined person on a mission similar to “Schindler’s List.” The movie is based on the book It’s Not Impossible,” written by Winton’s daughter Barbara.

It begins with Winton in his 80s as he finds papers that tell the story of how he helped save hundreds of children living in the Czech Republic. What makes this story more personal for me is that I have visited there and taken a tour of the concentration camp Terezin, where thousands of Jews were held until they were sent to the death camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Director James Hawes introducing “One Life” at the Toronto Film Festival 2023 Sarah Knight Adamson Photo Credit

The film toggles back to a younger Winton who helps groups of Jewish children in German-occupied Czechoslovakia to hide and flee in 1938–39, just before the beginning of the war. He visited German-occupied Czechoslovakia, saying, “I have seen this for myself, and I can not unsee it.” He began by enlisting the help of his persistent mother, played by the talented Helena Bonham Carter, and other work colleagues, one saying, “Don’t start what you can’t finish.” Ultimately, he saved 669 children; of the 1,500 left, only 200 survived. It’s an unsung hero’s story and dedication to helping children and families.

I loved this movie! Every person in the photo above that is standing was saved by Nicholas Winton. Johnny Flynn did a fantastic job as the younger Nicholas, as did Anthony Hopkins. I strongly advise you to see this gem of a historical movie.

Director: James Hawes
Screenplay writers: Lucinda Coxon, Nick Drake

Anthony Hopkins, Nicky Winton
Johnny Flynn, Young Nicky
Helena Bonham Carter, ‘Babi’ Babette / Barbara Winton
Lena Olin, Grete Winton
Romola Garai, Doreen Warriner
Alex Sharp, Trevor Chadwick

Studio: Warner Bros

Sarah Knight Adamson© April 14, 2024

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