Ida really is all about the cinematography. While there's a heck of a lot more too it than just that, without the many obscure, yet perfect shots, it wouldn't really work that well. Without the cinematography, Ida would've been watched, liked by the ones who saw it, then forgotten about. Instead, it's remembered. There's long, still shots, always filmed in a 1.33:1 ratio and in black and white. It's different, but it works. We haven't seen too many films filmed like that and so it's refreshing, despite actually not in any way being fresh. In fact, these effects further the brilliance of the cinematography. They make the film stand out, and I'm hoping it still does come Oscar season in a few months time.
First time actress Agata Trzebuchowska is on fire in this role. I always love it, and I'm not just trying to sound like a good guy here (although I guess I am in part), when an actor or actress or even director debuts and they come across as pro. No, they come across as some of the best. Actually, this has happened a few times this year, more recently with Nightcrawler's director Dan Gilroy. Trzebuchowska's performance is honestly one of the best female performances we've seen this year, and when looking at the yet-to-be-released films for the remainder of the year, she just may top my list.