Clinging to hope | Cinephile movie review

“Ashes in the Snow” receives four out of five stars — a movie worth seeing in the theater.

Plot: “In 1941, a 16-year-old aspiring artist and her family are deported to Siberia amidst Stalin’s brutal dismantling of the Baltic region. One girl’s passion for art and her never-ending hope will break the silence of history,” according to IMDB.

Review: For my second film of the Los Angeles Film Festival, I stumbled across a movie that stirred within me the same emotions of injustice that I experienced the first time I watched “Schindler’s List” and “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.”

Instead of Adolph Hitler as the seat of evil, this film focused on Joseph Stalin’s lust for power and his hellish takeover of the Baltic states. As a 34-year-old American, this wasn’t a story that I knew. As a moviegoer, I am so very appreciative of new and fresh premises deserving of attention and anything that makes us realize perception is reality.

This movie begins in an ideal setting. Father home from work, roughhousing with the boy, daughter consumed with her art, and mother holding the home together. This is a house of love, but instantly you know something is brewing underneath the surface. Soon, lives will be torn apart and you as an audience member will be asked to wrestle with a profound question; ‘What is worse, the evil men do in the darkness or the evil they do in the light?’

In the blink of an eye, our ideal setting is ripped apart. The father is nowhere to be found and the mother is left with her children. They are placed on a train headed for Siberia to work in a Labor Camp. Their crime? My best guess is failing to show loyalty to Stalin. With nothing left but the shirts on their backs, our little family is left clinging to hope. Hope that their father is still alive. Hope that someone will come to the rescue. Hope that they will be saved.

Life in a Labor Camp is hell. Damned to this world for 25 years, communities that once proudly watched out for each other shift into survival mode. It is here that we learn a valuable lesson; cowards sell their souls. Moments such as these work and are allowed to linger because tension is key. Stalin’s soldiers are unpredictable, forceful, and loyal. This keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing about matters of life and death.

At times, there is more darkness in this film than any person should be asked to bear. Still, there are bright spots; young love flourishing in the worst of conditions, the unflappable love of a mother, and the pure hope of children. As the credits roll, it is the hope you will remember. As an American, I was also left with another thought; I see you. We all see you.

Be good to each other.

More in Life

Maple Valley woman spreads joy to the elderly

Bree Peirce decided to make a difference this holiday season by sending holiday cards to the elderly.

Food banks offer relief this holiday season

The Maple Valley Food Bank and the Black Diamond Community Center offer a variety of services during the holiday season, and throughout the year.

Pinterest has nothing on me

Yes, I’m still writing about how I’ve been in shock this past… Continue reading

This book is sure to put you in the Christmas mood

You thought you knew what was inside the box. Though it was… Continue reading

Holiday Safety Tips|Puget Sound Fire Authority

The Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority gives tips on how to stay safe this holiday season.

Toys for Joy returns|Puget Sound Regional Fire

The 2018 kickoff for the Toys for Joy program starts today, Nov. 30.

Out with the oven

We made it through our first Thanksgiving in our new house and… Continue reading

Science-minded readers will love ‘Never Home Alone’

Ahhhhh, a quiet night at home. You’ve been promising yourself that for… Continue reading

A tale of American youth in the 90s

Recommendation: 3/5 Stars, STREAM Plot: “’Mid90’s’ follows Stevie, a 13 year old… Continue reading

Most Read