Movie Review & Movie Summary My Name Is Sara (2022)

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Directed by Steven Oritt and written by David Himmelstein (screenwriter of many acclaimed historical dramas including “Soul of the Game”), the film excels at putting audiences in the position of its lost and lonely teenage heroine (Zuzanna Surowy). in hostile terrain, inventing as you go. The story begins with Sara and her older brother going their separate ways after he told her she had a better chance of making it through the war because he was more clearly Jewish than she was. Her idea is only partially validated: from the moment Sara finds work as a nanny on a farm in Ukraine (which is also under German control), hardly a scene passes without someone questioning her story or look at it a certain way. this makes us think that she is suspected of lying.

Sara tells her hosts – farmer Pavlo (Eryk Lubos) and his wife, Nadya (Michalina Olszanska) – that she is fleeing a bad domestic situation: her mother is dead, her father is remarried to a woman who hates her, and now there is a new baby. Pavlo accepts this story, but Nadya thinks it’s fishy. For much of the rest of the movie, she watches daggers through the heroine no matter what happens. Sometimes she suspects Sara of being Jewish. Other times, she seems to think the new girl is a con man who will end up seducing Pavlo. Pavlo is depressed and resentful. The Nazis steal it blindly, demanding a set amount of cattle and grain to feed their occupying troops. He’s also a widower who lost his first wife and their child (presumably during the war, although we don’t have the details), and there are times when he looks at his new wife as if realizing that he had made a terrible mistake. This is not, to say the least, an ideal situation, even for a makeshift wartime arrangement.

Drawing on Sara’s real-life story, the film creates situations where Sara could be discovered unless she manifests instincts or generates knowledge that will allow her to “pass” (such as being able to sign of the cross, some she learned from her Christian friends). The film’s mastery of simple first-person filmmaking techniques is so adept that when Sara walks into a small-town church, it’s like we’re following a mouse into a barn full of cats. Sometimes the movie turns the screws on audiences by letting us know that an uncomfortable moment is coming long before it happens, like when Sara tells a woman on a trip to the local village that she’s from a particular town, and the woman says she can’t wait to see her again next week so she can connect her with someone who’s known her since she was little.

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