Winter in Wartime: movie review

'Winter in Wartime' takes a boy's-eye view of World War II in Europe and the dangers he encounters when he helps a downed RAF pilot.

Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier) is the 14-year-old Dutch boy in Nazi-occupied Holland who comes of age fast in “Winter in Wartime,” based on a bestselling semi-autobiographical novel by Jan Terlouw.

Helping to shelter a downed RAF pilot, and increasingly at odds with his father (Raymond Thiry), the town mayor, Michiel feels much closer to his Resistance-allied uncle (Yorick van Wageningen) and looks upon wartime as a particularly heady escapade.

The director, Martin Koolhoven, does a decent job of framing the story from Michiel’s prespective while, at the same time, allowing us to see beyond it. (The boy’s resentment of his father’s reconciliations with the Nazis, for example, betrays his naiveté of what one must do to survive.) Nothing in this film approaches the boy’s-eye view of war that, say, John Boorman achieved in “Hope and Glory,” but it’s an affecting, if somewhat flavorless, journey. Grade: B (Rated R for some language.)

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