Reviewed by Peter DeHaan
The Devil’s Arithmetic, based on a book by the same name, focuses on narcissist American teenager, Hanna Stern (Kirsten Dunst). Although Hanna dismisses her Jewish heritage, she is compelled to attend her family’s Seder celebration.
In the midst of her reluctant participation, she is translated to Nazi occupied Poland, circa 1941. Wishing she paid more attention in history class, Hanna finds herself enmeshed in the unfamiliar Jewish culture of that day and is soon rounded up for “relocation.”
Hanna experiences firsthand the horrors of the brutal, heartless, and inhuman treatment by her captors, all the while developing a deep compassion and sacrificial love for her fellow prisoners.
As Hanna changes, viewers cannot help but be affected as they vicariously experience the atrocities committed by one people group against another. The result is a powerful and poignant rendering of a history too painful to remember and too important to ignore.
Dunst gives a compelling standout performance, ably aided by Brittany Murphy, with support from Louise Fletcher and Mimi Rogers.
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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
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