The Zookeeper’s Wife | Jessica Chastain plays a real-life Holocaust heroine

The Zookeeper's Wife Jessica Chastain stars as Antonina Zabinski

In a nation gripped by fear one woman finds the power to resist.

Gentle on the surface but with a core of steel, Jessica Chastain shows true grace under pressure as the heroine of The Zookeeper’s Wife, a stirring tale of wartime heroism based on a true story.

The keepers of Warsaw’s city zoo, she and her husband (Johan Heldenbergh) shelter nearly 300 Jews under the noses of the occupying Nazis, including Hitler’s chief zoologist (Daniel Brühl), a slimy creep with designs on Chastain’s heroine Antonina, as well as the zoo’s prize specimens.

As Holocaust dramas go, The Zookeeper’s Wife is decidedly soft-edged. The dialogue is sometimes clumsy, too, and Chastain’s Polish accent is occasionally a tad distracting. But now and then there are hints of something darker, such as the moment when Antonina’s young son rushes outside, convinced it is snowing. The falling flakes turn out to be ashes from the burning Warsaw Ghetto.

Certificate 12. Runtime 124 mins. Director Niki Caro

The Zookeeper’s Wife debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on 31 December. Available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Universal Pictures.