Ida follows the story of Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), an orphan who was brought up living with nuns. Before taking her vowels she is forced to stay with her aunt, Wanda (Agata Kulesza), who tells Anna about her family and where they came from and the fact that they're Jewish. Then a bunch of stuff happens that involves tracing the family history, going on drives, long scenes of staring (although not as long as the ones from Twilight... yeah, I'm still not sure what the hell were up with those), and a bunch of talking, all of which has been condensed into an eighty-two minute long movie featuring the best cinematography you will see all year.
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.
Ida is such a quaint little film. It was seen by just a few, yet it was still a lot more people than the budget expected. It's odd, powerful, simple in story and excellent in execution. It's a film with a lot to say and the perfect runtime to say it. Plus it probably helped that they made it entertaining while sharing these messages. It's a film that never drags, nor never rushes. It doesn't take its time in telling the story, but it doesn't speed through all of its content to shorten the runtime. There really isn't too much content to delve into and so what's shown is shown and it's all that was needed.
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.
To sum up, Ida may not have gotten the biggest audience, but those who saw it are bound to remember it. With one of the year's best performances from Agata Trzebuchowska, a simple story, powerful messages and the best cinematography I've seen in a long time, Ida is worth a watch.
3 1/2 Stars