The Zookeeper’s Wife (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Director: Niki Caro
Distributor: eOne
Duration: 127 minutes

The Zookeeper’s Wife (DVD) – Movie Review

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Good: Great story and acting
Bad: No extras
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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)

During World War II, a lot of horrible events took place, going from the hunt on Jews to even building camps where the most horrific events happened. A lot of people didn’t expect such terror and were too late to escape from this hell and go somewhere safe. In The Zookeeper’s Wife, which is based on true facts, you can see the fear from the first row.

The Zookeeper's Wife

Before the war started, life was good for Antonina (Jessica Chastain) and Jan Zabinska (Johan Heldenbergh). Together with their son Ryszard (Timothy Radford) they had a flourishing zoo in the capital of Poland. A lot of exotic animals were kept an nurtured here, with the help of Jerzyk (Michael McElhatton). Due to this interesting group of animals, and because Hitler was probably already sending out troops, they get visited by zoologist Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl). His interest in the animals and some other beauty in the zoo sparks his fire from the start. Things go south rather fast afterwards, scaring this young family and Jan wishes to move to a more safer location. The problem is that they weren’t the only ones with this idea and in the end, they remain at the zoo.

When hell finally breaks loose, Warsaw gets a big hit and their lifework isn’t spared either. Due to circumstances, they make an agreement with Heck to bring the animals to a safe place. In the meanwhile, a lot of people were placed in the ghetto and it becomes clear rather fast that this is bad news. The Zabinskas want to help and plan a scheme to save their locked-up inhabitants. To do so, they have to play a rather dangerous game, where Heck is a major player. Hopefully they don’t burn themselves in this heroic action.


As you already might think, this story isn’t a happy one. If you’re looking for something light, it might be a good idea to keep this one for another time. Nevertheless, the story is nicely brought and it grasps you from the start. It has a nice mixture of emotional and dramatic moments while there is also some attention to the relationship between Antonina and Jan. They both try their best, but might not always be on the same page. It’s good to see that this aspect was added as well at it gives more dimension to the movie. The flow of the film itself is just right as well. Sometimes you make jumps through time which are nicely transitioned. Sometimes some events take place a bit faster while other parts are a bit more deepened. It gives a nice change of pace while keeping the integrity intact.

Performing in such a delicate and emotional movie can’t be easy and every single actor did a splendid job. Both Jessica and Johan feel like such a loving couple with both their flaws, which is shown perfectly. Especially Jessica does a great job showing such raw emotions, making you feel what she is experiencing and this certainly helps to get immersed. Daniel on the other hand performs perfectly as the German zoologist that is torn between several sides. It seems that he is screened a lot for similar roles as he was also starring in Inglorious Bastards as a German soldier role model.


This movie is based on a true story and although it would have been nice to have some extras, biographies tend not to have any. Too bad though, as this movie had quite some potential for extras. At least you have a rather emotional movie that makes up for it though.


War is a terrible thing and a lot of people suffered a lot. In The Zookeeper’s Wife, you can see the trouble a family went through to save some unknown people, which leads to a rather emotional and dramatic movie. If you’re looking for something light, be sure to keep this one on the side but be sure to watch it, as this true story will take you on quite a journey.


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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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The Zookeeper's Wife (DVD) - Movie Review, 7.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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