Waiting for Anya

A young shepherd (Noah Schnapp) in the French Pyrenees during WWII helps to smuggle Jewish children over the mountains to safety in Spain. Months of waiting and hiding culminate in a plot involving him and the townspeople distracting the occupying, highly stereotypical Germans with a children’s choral concert while they whisk the kids away to freedom. 

If this scenario seems familiar to you, it’s because it’s been done before. Many, many times, and way, way better. Jeez, even The Sound of Music generated more tension than this snorefest. It takes some real talent to take a story with such dramatic potential and dumb it down to a didactic watch-watcher of this magnitude. Granted, it’s aimed at the youth market so the Nazis’ claws have been trimmed, but the fact that it then talks down to this target market negates any educational merit.

Worse, it’s actually painful to watch veterans like Anjelica Huston and Jean Reno lower themselves to what amount to cameo roles just so they can be put on the poster. Thomas Kretschmann hardly stays awake playing the obligatory lone Nazi with a heart of gold. Hard to believe the source material was written by War Horse novelist Michael Morpurgo. Nice scenery, though. (109 min)