Over the decades, many films have been about Jewish survivors of WWII. I haven’t seen any about Polish Jews fleeing to Ukraine, one of many countries attacked and taken over by Nazi soldiers. My Name is Sara is a film about a 13-year-old teenage girl that went through a lot during this time in history. This film is based on a true story.
Sara (Zuzanna Surowy) is a young teenage girl escaping her hometown of Koreths in Poland with her older brother. They end up in Ukraine, where she finds refuge with a farmer, his wife, and their two children. Every day was a struggle to keep her secret from them and everyone else around them, along with trying to stay out of the farmer’s way, which wasn’t easy. He’s not a very nice man even though he took her in.
Director Steven Oritt takes what we’ve seen in other WWII films about survivors and infuses his unique take on the subject matter. There are a lot of scenes of the family farming or doing chores around the farm which shows how the struggle during this time was real. He mixes these scenes with various scenes of Nazis giving the family a hard time in the or back at their farm. These scenes show how the main character is constantly in turmoil with everyone around her, including the farmer who is harboring his own secret.
The scenery in the film is pretty well done. The cinematography shows this country of Ukraine as a beautiful landscape at times but also a brutally cold place. These Eastern European countries can be unforgiving during the winter months. The sets were very well reproduced, and I felt I was back in time during this era in history. The clothes and hairstyles were on point as well. This film looked authentic from top to bottom, making me invested in the story.
The acting in the film was nothing spectacular. I noticed some of the performances were a little clunky. This may have been because they were inexperienced actors. Sometimes how the actors delivered their lines was a dead giveaway of their experience. Others were more confident in their line delivery and seemed more at home in the film. This wasn’t a surprise for lower-budget filmmaking and or actors in foreign countries doing English dialogue. This can be excused as far as I’m concerned.
My Name Is Sara is a competent film with a good enough look to make it worth your time. Oritt, the director, does a thorough job despite the limitations he has to work within the cast and budget. If you’re looking for something different this week, this is worth checking out.
3 1/2 stars
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media