It is the director’s astute storytelling and ability to showcase varied human tendencies that allow her film to shuttle between a heartrending human drama and compelling war thriller. Every attempt of the couple, who put their lives on the line by indulging in guerrilla tactics against the Germans, sends shivers down your spine.
Quite emotional and therapeutic, tears roll down your cheeks when Antonina (played by Jessica Chastain) reveals why she loves animals. “You look into their eyes and you know exactly what’s in their hearts”, she says. Chastain’s riveting portrayal and her comfort level with the animals is noteworthy. Especially the scenes where she plays the piano to warn the Jews hiding in her house are outstanding. Daniel Bruhl’s intense performance as the German zoologist with suspicious intentions, lends gravitas to the period drama. The supporting cast is equally credible.
The Zookeeper’s Wife is an incredible real life story that reminds us what makes us human – our ability to hope and rise beyond the darkness and hatred.