I will start of by saying that this film is by far my favourite film of 2019 so far, it really touched me.
I am not a fan of WWII films at all, but my son is obsessed by them, so when I was introduced to this film, we watched the trailer together, as I had told him that it was probably “his sort of film”…I was wrong.
This is not a typical “war” film, but a love story and a true account of what the black/mixed race German children and their families went through during the Nazi rule during the war.
We follow Leyna (Amandla Stenberg) and her mother and brother as they try to live a peaceful family life amongst the chaos of the war.
Take a look at the trailer…
Personally, it had never even crossed my mind that black or mixed race people even existed in wartime Germany, all I’ve ever heard about were the conflicts between the Jews and the Germans, I suppose it’s hardly surprising with the lack of black history we are taught in general, but as a black woman I felt silly for not knowing.
Directed by Amma Assante, this film touches on the usual WWII war themes but also the strong relationship between Mother and Daughter and the love of siblings as well as first love that sees no colour.
The actress Amandla Stenberg was already a favourite of mine from the film, Everything, Everything, but have now a huge fan of both Abbie Cornish, who plays Leyna’s Mother and George Mackay who plays her love interest.
The story follows Kerstin, as she takes her family to Berlin for a safer existence due to her daughter Leyna being bi-racial and needing to constantly prove to the authorities and official Nazi soldiers that she is of German heritage in order not to be shipped of to a concentration camp.
We see the struggle of day to day life the Leyna experiences, alongside the normal pressures that a teenage girl faces, just wanting to fit in, make friends and have a boyfriend.
I loved the bond between Leyna and her brother, which gets tested during the film when he becomes a member of Hitler Youth, which is mandatory for all German boys.
We follow Leyna as her life takes a crazy dark twist from normal day to day life with a loving family to an unimaginable heartbreaking hell. I really felt for her, could almost imagine it was myself in her shoes, for this would have been my life, had I been alive and living in Germany in that era.
A film that will leave you thinking about identity and belonging and will touch your heart for a long while after.
Make sure you catch this amazing film when it comes out, it truly is something different.
Thanks for reading.