Based on true events, A Hidden Life is the story of an unsung hero, Bl. Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. The film depicts the life of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer and devout Catholic who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. The film’s title was taken from George Eliot’s book Middlemarch.
A Hidden Life is a epic historical drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, starring August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, and Matthias Schoenaerts with both Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz in their final performances.
It is an allegorical story about a man of extraordinary faith. A real-life parable of perseverance and free will. A spiritual journey centered in not just our humanity, but on what it means to truly walk the steps of Christ. And on what it means to choose what we believe is right and just, when we are given every reason not to.
Malick doesn’t glorify the central character’s ideals or deeds. Rather we focus on the humble threads of love and the storm they weather–and the romantic chemistry is perfect. August Diehl & Valerie Pachner are both exceptional and so incredibly in love.
Every touch, glance, or embrace between these two is personal, powerful, believable. You can see the stress leave their shoulders each time they first see each other. Sincerity fills the screen as their thoughts, worries, desires, and personal bond resurface in the context of God.
The cinematography is superb, with DP notably credited to Jörg Widmer and not Emmanuel Lubezki. There is a rare seamless quality achieved blending in old footage as well as in choosing to entirely forgo subtitles in a film spoken in equal parts English and German. The music is the best I’ve heard all year.
A Hidden Life is a film that may stay with you for some time. This is quintessential Malick, joining the ranks of The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life. Go in with an open mind and heart, ready for a spiritual experience.