Daily Notes

Review: One Life

Anthony Hopkins delivers a stunning performance in this biopic of Sir Nicholas Winton.
Matt 2 min read
Review: One Life

I once took a train every day from Maidenhead Station. At the end of the platform is a statue of Nicholas Winton. I knew about his life from the popular 1980's TV show, Thats Life.

So, I vaguely knew the story of One Life before we went to the cinema.

Sir Nicholas Winton was a London stockbroker, who travelled to Prague in 1938. It was the eve of World War Two and he is struck by the plight of Czechoslovakian children who face a dangerous and uncertain future.

Together with his mother, Winton makes an audacious plan. He sets up a channel to rehouse children in the UK. Obtaining visas and funding the children will travel on trains from Prague to London. At Liverpool Street station, new families await the train to take children to safety.

The pain of separating children from their parents, for the greater good, is evident. The rising danger of the German invasion of Czechoslovakia is palpable.

Anthony Hopkins plays Winton in the mid 1980's. We see him retired but not slowing down in his Maidenhead home. During an (enforced) decluttering process he tries to find a home for a scrapbook from his time in Prague.

This prompts him to reminisce on his time there, and flashbacks tell the story. The wartime Winton (Johnny Flynn), is a highly productive admin wizard. Helena Bonham-Carter plays the formidable Babi, his mother.

One Life is beautifully told, with excellent balance between the eras. The final ending of the story in the 1980's is emotional, without being over romantic. Casting and acting is perfect, and the script is lovely.

I loved this film; Hopkins is perfect as Winton. I remember seeing interviews with Winton and he seemed a fascinating character.

This film brings that extraordinary life to the screen in a memorable way. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon movie, and is well recommended.

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