(director: James Hawes; screenwriters: Nick Drake, Lucinda Coxon; cinematographer: Zac Nicholson; editor: Lucia Zucchetti; music: Volker Bertelmann; cast: Anthony Hopkins (Nicholas Winton), Johnny Flynn (Nicholas Winton as a young man), Helena Bonham Carter (Babette Winton), Lena Olin (Grete Winton), Romola Garai (Doreen Warriner), Alex Sharp (Trevor), Jonathan Pryce (Martin Blake); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Iain Canning, Guy Heeley, Joanna Laurie, Emile Sherman; BBC; 2023-UK)

“Endearing World War II true story.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
James Hawes is a longtime Brit TV director. His by-the-numbers direction is adequate for this upbeat, powerful BBC biopic, whereby the young London financial broker Nicholas Winton (nicely played as a young Winton by Johnny Flynn and later in middle-age by Anthony Hopkins), a wealthy self-described socialist, prior to the war, who in December 1938, visited Prague to help his friend Trevor (Alex Sharp) and the activist Doreen Warriner (Romola Garai) cut through red tape to save 669 mostly Jewish children in Czechoslovakia from the Nazis. The children were living in tents as refugees.
The endearing World War II true story is enhanced by the brilliant, sensitive performance by the great Anthony Hopkins. While Nicky’s middle-aged supportivr mom is finely played by Helena Bonham Carter.

In 1988, on the live BBC TV show, Nicky’s a guest who is surprised and overwhelmed to meet some of the children he saved, who were in the audience.

The humble Nicky lived to be 106, dying in 2015.

It’s a history film that reminds one of good deeds we should never forget, as we hope for a better world and for those on the side of good to prevail.

The title is derived from the Hebrew proverb: To save one person is like saving the whole world.

It played at the Toronto International Film Festival.