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  • Writer's pictureJack Aling

One Life - Review (London Film Festival 2023)

Don't Start What You Can't Finish. 3 / 5



Directed by James Hawes.

Nicholas Winton visits Czechoslovakia in the 1930s and forms plans to assist in the rescue of Jewish children before the onset of World War II.


The story of Nicholas Winton is one that has been shared many times and lends itself well to this rainy Sunday afternoon style of British drama. This unbelievable true story commends bravery in the face of adversity with dual performances making up One Life.


In 1938, a plea for help quickly evolves into a heroic war effort as Winton leads the mission to rescue hundreds of Jewish children from war, helping them to flee Czechoslovakia. Johnny Flynn plays young Nicholas with humble determination, despite his trepidation in the face of a task of this scale - there is no doubt in his decision to act swiftly.


Flash forward to 1988, Anthony Hopkins plays an older and sorrowful Winton - a man who cannot see the impact he has made on hundreds of lives, only focusing on those he could not save. Bringing in Hopkins was a smart move as this portion of his later life is where the emotional core lies coming to a heart-wrenching crescendo in its final act.


An undeniably powerful story matched with effective dual performance, One Life holds onto its strong emotional core but perhaps too tight as the film feels very safe and conservative.



Written by Jack Aling Read his latest reviews at: letterboxd.com/TheJackAling

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