Run time: 109 mins
Anthony Hopkins’ heartfelt portrayal of Nicholas Winton’s WWII efforts elevates this remarkable chronicle of heroism.
In the vast sea of Holocaust stories, One Life stands out as a tale of unsung courage. Witnessing the plight of Czechoslovakian children in 1938, 29-year-old British stockbroker Nicholas Winton (Johnny Flynn) embarks on a mission to evacuate them from the impending Nazi threat. Much later in 1980, an older Winton (Hopkins) grapples with getting the recognition he never sought.
Director James Hawes opts for a matter-of-fact tone, echoing the stiff-upper-lip, keep calm and carry on British ethos embodied by Winton. Working from Lucinda Coxon and Nick Drake’s screenplay, he delivers a story that, while initially veering towards the generic, evolves into a compelling and emotional complex narrative as Winton’s remarkable achievement, concealed for years in a leather briefcase, is slowly revealed. A standout in an impressive cast featuring the likes of Jonathon Pryce and Helena Bonham-Carter, Hopkins delivers a poignant performance, portraying a man who, despite never seeing himself as enough, finally realises his extraordinary contributions. With a last act guaranteed to bring the house down, it’s a sobering, stirring retelling of history.