A Hidden Life

A Hidden Life

Blu-ray Disc - 2020
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Based on real events, this is the story of an unsung hero, Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife Fani and children that keep his spirit alive.

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Andrew Kyle Bacon
Jun 27, 2020

"If God gave us freewill, then we are responsible for what we do and what we do not do."

Malick has created one of those films; one of the films that should go down in the annals of history; one of the films everyone should see. I wish my brothers and sisters in churches would have the patience to sit through this, to see that one cannot accept the evil all around you in the name of your own safety (or nationalism, or patriotism, or any other -ism); that this is, in fact, evil itself, making you complacent with the vile wickedness of the world.

Franz Jagerstatter died a martyr's death, because he refused to take an oath of loyalty to Hitler. He saw what evil stood before him and decided that he would play no part in it; even when he was told he could serve in a hospital and that the oath was only "symbolic," that "God doesn't care what you say. Only what's in your heart," Franz stood firm.

Then when it came time for him to report to military training, he went, stood before the commanding officer, and refused to raise his hand and speak the oath.

His journey is harrowing, and Malick reveals it to us in his regular, painterly, dream-like fashion. Narrative is a greater focus here than what has existed in his more recent films (apparently, Malick has been quoted as having "repented" of making films without scripts); yet this is still a Terrence Malick film: every frame of it is a Malick film. The dreamy voice-over is here (here motivated by the many, many letters the real Franz and his wife Fani sent one another), along with the romantic undertones, only glimpsed, never actualized, making us observers into a romantic friendship between two human beings in a way only Malick can achieve.

It's also life-affirming in some way. It's like a less bleak (how, you ask? I do not know) version of Scorsese's Silence; here the silence of God is taken as a sign of his goodness, almost like a parent standing by and nodding in approval of a difficult but correct decision their child has made. Here Franz and Fani know that the difficult decision they have made is the right one; they know that some times doing the right thing is the hard thing.

I do not know if Malick intended this as a commentary upon today's world; I do not know if this film is somehow a reflection of Trump's America, a reflection of Trumpian Evangelical Christianity; all I know is, at the end of the film, all of the characters who mocked the decision Franz Jagerstatter made as cowardly, look ashamed of themselves.

"It is better to suffer injustice than to do it."

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voisjoe1_0
Jun 27, 2020

This may be the best Malick film since "Days of Heaven," but maybe this one is more like a slow agonizing process of days in hell. An important film of a relatively unknown group that was ensnared by the Nazi's. What to do with Aryans that want nothing to do with Hitler and friends?

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boni20
Jun 25, 2020

Highly recommend this movie! Yes, it's kind of 'slow' in the beginning, but it's based on a true story and made you really think about one's view of what's wrong vs right and how to act on it.
a very touching story.

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knobbyknees69
Jun 24, 2020

I thought it was very well done. Almost 3 hours long, but worth the watch. I have had an interest in WW II historically based films and books, for many years. I noticed in the credits, a book about Franz was given as basis for the portion of the letters back and forth between him and his wife during his years in prison. I appreciated the emphasis of the Faith in God he and his wife expressed as they walked the horrendous path placed before them. Breath taking scenery all throughout the film.

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bike6369
Jun 10, 2020

possibly the slowest, most monotonous and repetitive movie we have tried to watch in quite some time. If we went to a theater to see this movie, we would have walked out had we not fallen asleep first. Fortunately at home, we have a remote with a fast forward button. Plus, almost three hours long!

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Gawarecki
May 13, 2020

A great movie to get you thinking "What would I have done in that situation?" or "Would I have had the courage to carry my convictions that far?". Great scenes abound, wonderful cinematography, and a pace that, while slow for some, has time for scenes to sink in and resonate. Not a movie for those looking for a lot of action, as the action takes place in one's mind, contemplating the emotions and motives - not only of the husband and father Franz, or Fani his wife and mother of their 3 children, but the grandmother (Franz's), grandfather (Fani's), Fani's sister, the mayor, village people, the clergy, and so on.

It is a powerful movie that I went out and bought after watching on-line, and will be sharing with my family, friends, and others. Highly recommended.

One sobering question that is "residue" for me from the memory of the movie: how to to keep such evil from reappearing? I ask that for the movie makes it more plausible how a culture can become twisted and abusive; it's not as hard as one might think.

LoganLib_darsh May 11, 2020

Based on real events, A HIDDEN LIFE is the story of an unsung hero during WWII who had principles and stood by them if it meant his life was threatened by the Nazis.

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alfredfrenzel
Feb 24, 2020

LWL 2019 pick

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