Set in 1942, when the world was filled with war, Waiting for Anya begins with a narration from an older adult named Jo. When Jo (Noah Schnapp) was just a young boy working as a shepherd and looking after sheep in the small village known as Lesgun, he stumbled onto a big secret one day. One of the local widows (Anjelica Huston) is hiding young Jewish children.
Despite being filled with fear at the recent discovery and afraid of being caught, Jo agrees to keep it a secret and help the widow where possible, even hiding the secret from his grandfather (Jean Reno). Jo works behind the scenes, attempting to help get all the Jewish children across the border between France to Spain with hopes of saving their lives.
Waiting for Anya is a drama and war film, but it also has some suspenseful and even thrilling moments. The overall film moves at a fairly slow pace, with the first and second acts being the more challenging to get through, but thankfully, it all builds towards a more satisfying third act.
The quality of this film certainly feels like a TV mini-series rather than a big blockbuster film in the visuals, soundtrack, and pacing. Those who enjoy drama and war films will find moments within the story engaging and touching, especially in the opening scene. The scenery shots are pleasing to see on the big screen too.
Performances here, for the most part, are fine. Young actor Noah Schnapp who plays Jo was great in this role, but it’s no surprise that actress Anjelica Huston shines wonderfully here too (as she always does!). Thomas Kretschmann as The Corporal was also solid in his performance on-screen. Actor Jean Reno is great, but nothing from this actor is overly exciting or new.
Overall, this film is quite dramatic, touching and at times, suspenseful. It feels more like a TV mini-series based on the on-screen quality of visuals and soundtrack rather than a huge blockbuster film. Performances are fine; Noah Schnapp and Anjelica Huston deliver the strongest presence out of the entire cast. The film is quite slow during its first and second acts, leading to a more powerful finale.