Film Review: One Life

One Life (courtesy)

One Life
Directed by James Hawes
109 min – United Kingdom

One Life tells the story of Nicholas Winton, who organized a kinder transport from Czechoslovakia in 1938. Winton was a young British stockbroker working in London who planned to go to Prague for a week in 1938 to help out a friend working with the British refugee aid program. He is distressed by the conditions, and concerned for the children’s safety, as the threat of Nazi occupation gets closer. Against enormous odds he organizes visas and foster families in England, with the help of his mother and others, and eventually helps 669 children escape to safety.

The film moves back and forth between that time and 1987, when Winton (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins), now in his 70s, is going through old files and revisiting the past.

The climax of the film (not spoiled here!) is unbelievably moving, and underscores what a remarkable humanitarian achievement Winton organized. He was a humble man, whose work in the 1930s ultimately impacted thousands of lives. Hopkins is wonderful in the role, and the film is very well-written and paced.

One Life will be released theatrically in March.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Learn more at

Jackie Spafford

Written by Jackie Spafford

Jackie Spafford is an independent film consultant and contributes film reviews for

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