One Life – Impactful True Story That Must Be Seen

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One Life Review

Years ago a YouTube video went viral of an older gentleman sitting in an audience, surrounded by the (now adult) children he saved during World War II. The video itself left an impression – the acts of one man had saved and created generations of survivors of Jewish children. And now, the story of that man is finally making it to the big screen in One Life.

One Life is the story of Sir Nicholas Winton, a young broker from London who goes to help with the resistance in Prague, only to help lead a team to save hundreds of young Jewish Czechoslovakian children. Knowing that the German troops are coming closer day by day, Nicky risks his job and takes charge of finding a way to get the children out of the ghetto before the Germans arrive.

Unlike what the viral video claimed, the movie and story focus on Nicholas and his team who work together and risk everything to save children by placing them in British foster homes. While the hope is it that eventually the kids would be reunited with their parents, the reality as we know it now, is many never were given that chance.

Told completely in the past, the movie bounces between 1938 in Prague and London and 50 years later in Nicky’s life. Anthony Hopkins plays the role of elderly Nicky while Johnny Flynn plays the younger version. The story is both being told as it plays out and reflecting back on what could have been done differently. It shows just how committed Nicky was to save the children and how the regret of not saving all of them haunted him years later. And how even doing everything he could to help, would never be enough for Nicky. He lived every day of his life wondering what he could have done differently, when what he and his team did was beyond what anyone else could have asked or expected.

Despite the heavy topic and the looming feeling that comes with almost every World War II-era film, One Life doesn’t bank on those horrors to tell the story. Yes, there are scenes where Nazis are there and even one where they drive into town. But the horrors and the reality of what is happening are kept off the screen. Instead, the movie focuses on Nicky’s efforts to save the children in Prague and his life decades later.

This doesn’t make the movie easy to watch still, knowing what is looming just off-screen. And finding out the impact that Nicky and his team had on those lives is truly a remarkable moment (and one that requires several tissues). The movie is powerful, impactful, and definitely a story worthy to be told on the screen.

One Life is currently playing in theaters.

Overall Rating

Four and a half Star Review

About One Life

Based on the book If It’s Not Impossible…: The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton by Barbara Winton, ONE LIFE tells the incredible, emotional true story of Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Winton (Flynn), a young London broker who visits Prague in December 1938. In a race against time, Winton convinces Trevor Chadwick (Sharp) and Doreen Warriner (Garai) of the British Committee for Refugees in Czechoslovakia to rescue hundreds of predominantly Jewish children before Nazi occupation closes the borders. Fifty years later, Nicky (Hopkins) is haunted by the fate of the children he wasn’t able to bring to safety in England. It’s not until the BBC show “That’s Life!” re-introduces him to some of those he helped rescue that he finally begins to come to terms with the guilt and grief he carried – all the while skyrocketing from anonymity to a national hero.

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