Like Link's Oscar-nominated 2001 drama Nowhere in Africa, this is a nuanced, touching portrait of a family that flees Nazi Germany early enough in the 1930s to avoid capture and imprisonment. The director lovingly tells Kerr's moving story about the day-to-day indignities the Kempers endure while traveling from Germany to Switzerland to France, having to start over in each country, make new connections, and adjust to new circumstances. Krymalowski does a wonderful job portraying the range of emotions of a young refugee who doesn't quite understand the severity of her situation. Anna is simultaneously confused, distressed, and excited in each new home, showing the kind of resilience that only a young child can. Her older brother, Max, meanwhile, can get predictably moody and intense as he internalizes the idea that whenever Arthur isn't around, he's the man of the house.
The talented Mascucci, who famously portrayed Hitler in the 2015 satire Look Who's Back, is memorably good as a frustrated intellectual and cultural critic struggling to find a new platform. Not a lot happens in the movie, it being more a character study than the typical pre-WWII drama. It should be made clear that this isn't a Holocaust drama (although the camps are mentioned in a couple of short but powerful scenes). This is a rare look at a Jewish family lucky enough to get out of Germany before the Third Reich made that impossible. And while other German Jewish families might have had relatives or connections in other countries to help make their exile more comfortable, the Kempers face poverty, discrimination, and homesickness while remaining grateful to be together and alive when those who stayed behind, unwilling to believe or understand their own country would turn on them, suffered far more dire fates. Kerr's book (and this adaptation) are ultimately a testament to resilience and family love.