"Better to suffer injustice than to do it..."I don't have many words tonight. A lot of thoughts and emotions. I didn't expect a perfect score from me this year, but I am just floored and overwhelmed by the visual poetry and spiritual magnitude of it all. It feels transcendent. With a beauty that permeates all the way to one's own relationship with God.Based on true events, A Hidden Life is Malick's most direct exploration of faith since To the Wonder, and perhaps his most fully realized work yet. It is an allegorical story about a man of extraordinary faith. A real-life parable of perseverance and free will. A spiritual journey centered in not just our humanity, but on what it means to truly walk the steps of Christ. And on what it means to choose what we believe is right and just, when we are given every reason not to.Malick doesn't glorify the central character's ideals or deeds. Rather we focus on the humble threads of love and the storm they weather--and the romantic chemistry is perfect. August Diehl & Valerie Pachner are both exceptional and so incredibly in love. Seconds into the film and you already know it. Pachner gives a particularly moving performance deserving of an Oscar nomination (she is in SF this week doing Q&A's!). Every touch, glance, or embrace between these two is personal, powerful, believable. You can see the stress leave their shoulders each time they first see each other. Sincerity fills the screen as their thoughts, worries, desires, and personal bond resurface in the context of God.The cinematography is superb, with DP notably credited to J?rg Widmer and not Emmanuel Lubezki. There is a rare seamless quality achieved blending in old footage as well as in choosing to entirely forgo subtitles in a film spoken in equal parts English and German. The music is the best I've heard all year. A beautiful traditional theme by James Newton Howard (Blood Diamond, TDK) with Handel, Dvorak, and other great classical works mixed in.A Hidden Life is a film that may stay with you for some time. This is quintessential Malick, joining the ranks of The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life. Go in with an open mind and heart, ready for a spiritual experience.
Saw this in Toronto and felt privileged to be in a world where a movie like this is made and a story like this is told. Based on letters written between a husband and wife while he is in jail for being a conscientious objector in Hitler's Austria. So heartbreaking to see how the village where he lived, all friends and neighbours for decades - all become his enemies as he is the only one willing to say No. And yet he is strong in his convictions and sustained by love.
After seeing the previews, I expected more of this movie. First of all, it's too long and some of shot linger on...nice landscapes yes, but what did it contribute to the story? My biggest complaint is: It should have been done in German with English subtitles. Most of the actors were either German or Austrian so it begs the question, why wasn't the script written in German. It's a story of an Austrian. Everyone in Austria speaks German. It took away from the story, and as one other review stated, one could not truly connect to the actors. As authentically the story may have been told, I just could not find any great merit in the film.
This movie to sum it up is miserable. The melancholy just never ends. I felt tortured as the film continued to dwell on the same conflict, never moving forward and there's absolutely no surprises when we find out what happens at the end. This is a 3 hour film full of exposition and pretty cinematography that Malick needs to get over. People - don't be fooled: Malick isn't some messiah artist trying to send a message, he's just a filmmaker that can't get over his pretty cinematography, so he slaps it in the edit and adds some exhausting, irrelevant voice over.It truly hurts to say this about my once favorite director, but seriously... this was painful.
The movie tells the moving story of a man sticking to his principles and beliefs until the most extreme consequences; his courage is absolutely remarkable. As much as I respect such an act of courage, this provides too thin a plot too sustain a nearly 3 hours movie. In fact we are offered very long, elegiac sequences of the Austrian mountains, scenes from the bucolic life of a community of peasants living in a small village on those mountains, beautiful shots which look more like fillers than a relevant part of the story.But the main flaw of the movie for me, the one that created a big disconnect from minute one was to see the actors playing in English; in the context of such a poetic, hyper realistic type of movie, the least thing you would expect is to find Austrian peasants and Nazi soldiers speaking English. The effect was for me as if the actors were telling me: "Ha-ah, we are not the real characters, we don't even speak their language; we are just actors playing them in a movie." I thought this was a gross mistake, one which put me off from the very beginning and prevented me from connecting with the story and its characters.