6 Things To Know About The WWII Drama, ‘I’ll Find You’

Imagine playing the violin in front of an audience you despise in a building that you would rather see burned to the ground and being saved by two unbeatable things: the beauty of the music and the eyes of the person you love locked with your own. That’s the heartbeat of Martha Coolidge’s I’ll Find You, a World War II drama that is equal parts moving, well-shot for a low-budget war film, and quite timely with the events over in Ukraine.

Here are six things to know about the new release that is available on-demand via popular streaming platforms today.

The plot is inspired by real-life war-torn love tales

Coolidge’s film is inspired by dozens of Polish love stories from the 1930s and 1940s and collected by producer Zbigniew Raczynski. The screenwriters blended these tales to create the unlikely romance between Catholic opera singer Robert Pulaski (Leo Suter) and Jewish violinist Rachel Rubin (Adelaide Clemens) at the outbreak of World War II in Poland. The couple’s wedding plans as well as their concert date at Carnegie Hall are interrupted as Germany invades Poland, starting World War II.

Big-name supporting cast puts in fine work

Connie Nielsen and Stellan Skarsgard fans are in for a treat. Sometimes, when you see a few recognizable names on an indie poster like this, you wonder if they only have a few scenes or so just to help sell the movie. Luckily, that isn’t the case here. Nielsen’s music teacher and Skarsgard’s world-renowned opera singer play key roles in Robert’s search for Rachel, and there are unexpected nuances and consequences involved that add to the drama and the thriller aspect of Coolidge’s movie. When done right, these casting decisions lift up a film. Here, these roles are fleshed out and aid the film late.

Come for the war drama, stay for the singing

To be honest, when “musical” was attached to this film during a quick Google search, I was worried. Unless they are Jonathan Larson-driven tales of a life gone too soon, the musical genre is not my cup of tea. But “I’ll Find You” doesn’t mess around with its opera-singing origins. If there’s anything that can balance out yet another WWII film, it’s the sweet undertone of music’s fast-moving grace and everlasting power. The scene in question discussed at the very top of this review happens between Robert and Rachel at Auschwitz, as the two victims and star-crossed lovers perform in front of German soldiers who are destroying families by the hour. It’s a taut scene that features solid camera work and impeccable singing.

“If I had known who you were, I would have killed you both.”

The script hits unexpectedly hard at times

One of the most powerful moments of the movie happens near the end when a woman talks about surviving the worst concentration camp due to her skill. She goes on about how she played her music as the train was unloaded, as the Jews were taken to the gas chambers, and how her music was the last thing they ever heard. You can see 100 World War II films and still have that line destroy you. Survivors’ guilt is something that lives and breathes long after the end of the trauma, a fact wonderfully highlighted in the upcoming documentary, Shoah Ambassadors.

Young cast members steal the show

You may not know their faces too well just yet, but good luck not looking them up as the credits roll. Suter has two big releases this weekend, including a “Vikings” series sequel on Netflix starting today. There are more than a few occasions where the London native is able to inject much empathy and courage into Robert’s actions without needing much dialogue or help from the cast. But his scenes with Clemens are the best in the film. Their chemistry pushes the film up and showcases their talent in a way that leaves you wanting more. Can’t forget Sebastian Croft and Ursula Parker’s work as the young Robert and Rachel. All four actors leave a dent.

Does it have “TV Movie of The Week” construction and feel?

No, but you also shouldn’t go in expecting Saving Private Ryan either. I’ll Find You is one of those journeyman films that was completed 3-4 years ago and now is finally getting a worldwide release. It first premiered at Italy and Poland film festivals back in 2019, but it’s only first hitting the USA streaming waves this weekend. So, it brings a rugged indie darling spirit to the forefront, without being outstandingly cinematic. The invasion scenes are mixed with real archival footage, and the sounds and sights of the horrific outbreak are concealed to reactions and street shots.

The pulse of “I’ll Find You” is the music and how it bolstered the love between two innocent souls who fell for each other at the absolute wrong time. Martha Coolidge’s film is a fine option to stay at home and watch this weekend.