KSL Movie Show review: ‘One Life’ might just be the British version of Schindler

Mar 15, 2024, 8:00 AM

One Life might be the newest Schindler's List....

In this KSL Movie Show review, host Steve Salles explains how "One Life" might just become the British version of Schindler's list.

SALT LAKE CITY — Put simply, “One Life” is the story of a British stockbroker who helped facilitate the evacuation of hundreds of Czech children, mostly Jewish, to the safety of Great Britain before the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Nicholas Winton was this unassuming man, played by Johnny Flynn in the early years and by Sir Anthony Hopkins nearly fifty years later. The story goes back and forth, as older Winton is being chided by his wife for keeping boxes of old documents scattered around the house and garage. She wants him to clean it all up, leave the past in the past, and move on.

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We then go back to pre-WWII, where a young Nicky is shocked to see the living conditions of these Czech families, all knowing full well that when the Nazis do come, they’ll be sending these Jews to the camps, never to be seen again.

Winton was only supposed to be in Czechoslovakia for a week to observe the situation, but when he saw how dire it was, he enlisted the help of Doreen Warriner, head of the Prague office of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Trevor Chadwick and others to handle the vast amount of paperwork that would be required move these children out of harm’s way.

It would require train permits, committed foster families, visas and funds to make this undertaking possible, not to mention the sacrifices of these Czech families who more than likely would never see their loved ones again.

Winton and his team managed to send eight trainloads of kids back to England, a total of 669. A ninth train was caught in the midst of the invasion and its outcome was never determined. But this is only half of the story.

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The other part of this back-and-forth film, is set in 1987. Nicholas Winton (Hopkins) now retired from the firm is still haunted by the earlier events, wishing he could have helped more children survive the nightmare. He has this treasured scrapbook of all the names and faces of those who made it to England. He entrusts it to a publisher’s wife, who insists on finding out what happened to all these kids.

Keep in mind, that Nicholas Winton is a man who preferred to stay in the background. He’s not looking for any kind of praise for his efforts. He simply hopes that history has not forgotten about what his team was able to accomplish.

However, once word gets out and the story makes the front page, a BBC TV show called “That’s Life” asks Winton to come to a taping of the show, just to sit in the audience as the events are discussed. What happens next is so touching and emotional, that there won’t be a dry eye in the theater. I’m getting moist eyes just recalling it now.

Yes, some are calling “One Life” the “British Schindler,” minus most of the horrific, visceral scenes that that epic movie displayed. But it still gives one all the feels of those grateful souls who simply wanted to say “thank you.”

ONE LIFE Rated PG for thematic material, smoking and some language. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Lena Olin, Johnny Flynn, Helena Bonham Carter, Alex Sharp and Romola Garai. Directed by James Hawes (Episodes of TV series “Slow Horses” and “Penny Dreadful”) – filmed in the Czech Republic and England. Running time: 110 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘One Life’ might just be the British version of Schindler