With its obsessive focus on composition and technical perfection, Ida could easily be nothing more than a film nerd’s dream (which it most certainly is). The performances by the two female leads, however, provide a solid emotional base for all of the artistic flourishes. Newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska’s portrayal of Ida is appropriately all wide-eyed innocence, while Agata Kulesza’s turn as Wanda is nothing short of brilliant, the years of pain and regret her character has experienced seeming to weigh down her every movement.
Only at the end, when Ida has her own inevitable crisis of conscience and questions her calling does the movie slightly falter. The last ten or fifteen minutes feel a bit rushed, as if it can’t wait to get to the conclusion. But what a satisfying conclusion it is, and not one you’d expect given the tenor of today’s culture. And that last shot, it’s a film buff’s dream come true.
Okay, so Ida isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s so artsy that art students might even be taken aback at first, and it’s so reserved in its storytelling that you have to pay attention to every slight expression on the actors’ faces to understand that there are things actually happening in some scenes. But if you don’t mind that kind of thing, Ida is a beautiful film about the search for truth, identity and, ultimately, faith during faithless times. And you can watch it at home now, so what do you have to lose?
spends his time exploring the intersection of low-budget/cult cinema and Catholicism at
The B-Movie Catechism.