A Hidden Life
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
A Hidden Life tells the true story of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, a Catholic farmer who’s raising a family in the small village of St. Radegund, Austria when Hitler rises to power and World War II begins. Saddened to see even his fellow Catholics supporting the Nazis, Franz stays true to his conscience and avoids any involvement in the war.
As the war continues, so too does the pressure on Franz to conform when he is called to active duty. Friends and neighbors plead with him to drop his objections to avoid causing troubles for both him and his family. “God doesn’t care what you say,” a priest argues, trying to persuade Franz to swear an oath to Hitler if only to avoid persecution. “Only what’s in your heart.”
When Franz is eventually jailed, tortured, and threatened with execution for refusing loyalty to Hitler, he must decide if he’s truly willing to pay the price his objections will cost.
With the beautiful wide-angle cinematography and the contemplative pacing common in Terrence Malick films, the film paints the struggles, temptations, and battles of the human conscience with an epic brush, contrasting the peace and grandeur of God’s creations with the agony and tragedy of war.
Much of the film’s personal drama may be over the heads for younger children (who would likely be put to sleep by the almost 3 hour runtime anyway), but both older children and adults may find inspiration in this story of a man’s dedication to his Catholic faith.