The Zookeeper’s Wife

Certificate 12A

(2017) 127 mins

Director: Niki Caro
Writers: Angela Workman, from the book by Diane Ackerman
Cinematography: Andrij Parekh
Production Design: Suzie Davies
Music: Harry Gregson-Williams


The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II.  In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care.  When their country is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are stunned and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl).  To fight back on their own terms, the Żabińskis covertly begin working with the Resistance and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.  From the official website

For more information, including a full cast list and reviews, go to:




Though the premise is reminiscent of Schindler’s List, the twist here is that the way station is a zoo filled with exotic animals, attracting the unwanted attention of Nazi chief zoologist Lutz Heck. The fact he also takes a shine to Antonina creates a fraught situation that requires both deception and acquiescence on her part. However, director Niki Caro draws back at key moments, diluting the tension. There’s an emotional barrier, too, that keeps the growing discord between Antonina and husband Jan from resonating as deeply as it should. The upside of Caro’s approach is that difficult scenes hinting at the terrible fate of so many people (children especially) don’t feel exploitative. It’s impossible not to be moved, even with such a polite rendering of events that, in the end, finds hope for the human species.”  Radio Times

Courage, duplicity, loyalty and survival are the key themes of this gripping drama that offers a unique and refreshingly different perspective of the Holocaust. . . The film provides yet another great role for Jessica Chastain, a woman of substance and compassion, who risks everything. There are a few flaws but nonetheless, it’s an involving, heartfelt and moving experience.”      Urban Cinefile

Fri 01 Sep Sheppey Blue Town
Sat 09 Sep Buckingham
Tue 19 Sep Llanddewi Rhydderch
Thu 19 Oct Oswestry
Fri 20 Oct Shipston on Stour
Sat 21 Oct Ashwellthorpe
Wed 25 Oct Oliver’s Battery
Sat 11 Nov Broomfield
Wed 15 Nov Cranleigh
Thu 30 Nov Ixworth
Thu 21 Dec Milland

Patron Julian Fellowes

Follow Us On Twitter

Skip to toolbar