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One Life matters

          A film focusing on a true-life do-gooder who rescued hundreds of children from Nazi terrors deserves celebration rather than criticism. So, bypassing a sometimes-formulaic presentation, One Life honors Nicky Winton, who unexpectedly gained fame decades after his accomplishments when he appeared on a British television show. Moving back and forth in time, the screenplay by Lucinda Coxon, Nick Drake, and Barbara Winton allows director James Hawes to start with his calling card, actor Anthony Hopkins as the older version of the story’s main character. Making everything he does look natural and simple; Hopkins twitches a face muscle or moves a finger in ways that reveal more than any dialogue. His presence emphasizes the story’s importance, along with other prominent cast members like Helena Bonham Carter, Jonathan Pryce and Lena Olin. Less familiar names like Johnny Flynn and Ramola Garai bring their own share of emotion and caring to the project. The acting team shifts into different timelines as the story moves between 1938 Czechoslovakia and 1987 England. Making the wise choice to shoot Prague scenes in and around the city, director Hawes brings catastrophe to life and gains added production value from a region whose historic appearance survived the war. These dramatic moments come amidst a great deal of talk and explanation since Winton’s epic actions required outrageous paperwork rather than the superpowers of caped crusaders. Talk eventually leads to the event that inspired filmmakers when an older Winton discovers the impact of his efforts during a 20-minute segment geared at creating wet eyes. It works, making One Life a true tearjerker presented with clarity and sincerity.



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