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KPCW sends its most discerning moviegoers to the movies each week to let you know which films are worth going to and which are a pass. The Friday Film Review airs at 7:20 a.m., during the Noon News and in The Local View. KPCW Friday Film Reviewers are: Barb Bretz, Rick Brough, Mark Harrington and Linda Jager.

Friday Film Review | 'One Life'

The film “One Life” is a biopic about Nicholas “Nicky” Winton and the role he played in helping to organize massive kinder transports from Prague to London. The film could be called the British version of “Schindler’s List.”

Barbara Winton’s book about her father entitled “If It's Not Impossible…The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton” is the basis for the film “One Life.” Directed by James Hawes, “One Life” premiered at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.

In the late 1980s, an aging Nicky is tasked by his wife to clear out paperwork accumulated during decades of work with charitable organizations. He uncovers a treasured scrapbook, which his family urges him to donate to a museum or library. Through intensely authentic flashbacks, we learn what is contained within the precious book. In 1988, a British TV show airs the story, and the rest of the world learns too.

In 1939, as Hitler invades countries adjacent to Germany, young Nicky is employed as a London broker but is in communication with some Brits in Prague. They enlist him to set up a system to aid thousands of refugees pouring into Czechoslovakia. Once there, he sees for himself the number of refugees, especially the children, and the conditions in which they live. He makes getting the children to safety his priority.

Young Nicky is played by Johnny Flynn, a British actor, singer/songwriter who portrayed David Bowie in the film “Stardust”. He is so believably passionate in this role and has great chemistry with Helena Bonham Carter, who is impressive as his supportive activist mother.

Old man Nicky is brilliantly played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, who brings wit and deep compassion to his portrayal. Rescuing 669 children was quite a success but doesn’t prevent him from being haunted by the hundreds they couldn’t get out in time.

Winton gives credit to the other British citizens on the ground in Prague. They were a team of ordinary people who did an extraordinary thing. The belated recognition and appreciation were showered on him as the last man standing.

In 2014, at the age of 105, Winton was speaking on a BBC Radio program. He agreed he had made a difference to a lot of people and added, “I don't think we've learned anything… the world today is in a more dangerous situation than it has ever been.” Winton died in 2015.

“One Life” is rated PG and runs 1 hour and 50 heart-wrenching minutes.

Friday Film Reviewer & Monthly Book Reviewer