#TIFF19: “A HIDDEN LIFE”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
It’s the 1940s and Europe is at war. Franz (August Diehl) is an Austrian farmer living with his wife Fani (Valerie Pachner) and three children. He undergoes military training but refuses to pledge allegiance to Adolf Hitler. And while this does not go over well with the people of his village, it becomes even more problematic when he is conscripted to fight in the war.
In a word, A Hidden Life is breathtaking. From the opening frame to the very last, the Film is a sensuous display of exquisite and absolutely stunning visuals. Being a film from legendary enigmatic Writer/Director Terrence Malick, I fully expected this to be the case. What I did not expect was a functioning narrative that is wonderfully expressive, even when we are just watching people chopping wheat. Diehl and Pachner are fantastic together or apart. The have great chemistry and their narration is vividly passionate, saying everything the visuals cannot. James Newton Howard’s Score is simply marvelous and one of the best of the year. Fair warning though – the structure of A Hidden Life is loose and free-flowing, testing the limits of its nearly three-hour running time. But rather thankfully, each minute is more rewarding than the last.
A HIDDEN LIFE screens during TIFF at the following times:
Monday September 9, 1:00pm @ Elgin Theatre
Wednesday September 11, 2:30pm @ Scotiabank Theatre
Friday September 13, 3:00pm @ Scotiabank Theatre
Saturday September 14, 9:00am @ Scotiabank Theatre