Film review: ‘Ida’ is a haunting look at World War II’s legacy

Ida, played by Agata Trzebuchowska, makes a shocking discovery in Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida.

Four stars

Ida Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kulesza, Dawid Ogrodnik. Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. Rated PG-13. Opens Friday.

Contemplative and gorgeous, the 1960s-set Polish drama Ida makes a significant impact in a short amount of time. The title character (Agata Trzebuchowska) grew up in a convent and is about to take her vows to become a nun, but first she makes a visit to her aunt (Agata Kulesza), her only living relative, to learn about where she came from.

A brief encounter turns into an important journey for both women, as Ida (who’s been called Anna all her life) discovers that she’s the daughter of Jewish parents killed during the Holocaust. Director and co-writer Pawel Pawlikowski unfolds the story quietly and deliberately, with stunning black and white cinematography giving the movie an austere, otherworldly feel. The story deals with the legacy of World War II and life under communism, but it remains firmly focused on these two very different women, who are both haunted and inspired by the traumas of the past.

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