Lise’s review published on Letterboxd:
The quick & dirty from TIFF 2013
Director Pawel Pawlikowski introduced the film and the more he spoke the more I was was falling in love. Here is a man I respect. He's a straight-shooter. He wanted to be clear about something: his film was about the characters. The characters weren't stand-ins for some political agenda, they didn't represent ideological principles, he wasn't making any grandiose statements. What you see is what you get, and what you see is a story about two women and how past decisions influence their current choices. I sat listening to him and wanted nothing more than to go give him a big hug in thanks. I wanted to thank him for being down-to-earth, for declaring that he wasn't a pretentious "arteeest" setting out to make a film that "really meant" something completely different than what you were seeing. Good for him. I'm fairly certain I said that bit out loud.
Ida is a simple film of two complicated characters who meet for the first time and are left to navigate very deep and personal issues. Ida grew up in a convent and is just about to take her vows. Her only living relative wants to meet her to give her information. We then follow both of them as discover their common history together and we see how each character affects the other.
The story is simple and beautiful.
Director Pawel Pawlikowski wanted to make a simple story with no fluff or distractions. Shot in Academy ratio (1:33) black and white, the unusual framing is gorgeous.
Ida is that breath of fresh air one needs after seeing too many films that all look the same. Ida is that gem that one needs after seeing too many plot devices. Ida is that film that regenerates one's love of cinema.