One Life

April 5 – 9

7 pm nightly
1:30 pm Sunday Matinee

2023 — War Drama
PG — 1 hr 50 min

Held aloft by outstanding work from a tremendous cast, One Life pays heartwarming tribute to a remarkable humanitarian effort. Hopkins stars as Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 Jewish children from the Nazis – alongside Helena Bonham Carter in mighty form. One Life works very well — an impeccable period reconstruction, an emotional classic narrative, and a vindicating message illuminating the altruism of a man who had everything and chose to risk it all to help others.

The screenplay by Lucinda Coxon (The Danish Girl) and co-writer Nick Drake flits between 1938, just after the annexation of the Sudetenland, and the sedate surrounds of 1980s Berkshire. In the pre-war sections, ‘Nicky’ (played with gusto by Johnny Flynn) is a London bank worker – dogged and good with paperwork – who is drawn into the refugee crisis in Prague and forms the British Committee for Refugees to evacuate Jewish children from Czechoslovakia to London. When it switches to the ’80s, the older Winton (Hopkins), now in his ’70s, living a quiet life in the suburbs with wife Grete (The Reader’s Lena Olin) but still tormented by thoughts of not rescuing more than the 669 children he did save.

It’s a stirring story, and one it’s impossible to watch without considering Britain’s present-day reluctance when it comes to offering shelter to those most in need of it. Winton, who was eventually knighted for his actions, is undoubtedly a hero worth celebrating. And this solidly workmanlike first feature from James Hawes (best known for TV work including Slow Horses and Snowpiercer) does just that, dutifully hitting all the expected emotional beats and piggybacking on a famous pair of episodes of the TV show That’s Life! from 1988 for a tearjerking crescendo of an ending.

Directed by:
James Hawes

Cast:
Anthony Hopkins
Helena Bonham Carter
Johnny Flynn
Lena Olin
Romola Garai
Alex Sharp
Jonathan Pryce