Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2019
An excellent portrayal of the brutality of of the Stalin-era communist party, even towards members of their own ranks. This is the fruit that comes from the outlawing of religion and the embrace of atheism as the excusive official government ideology. When morality is no longer anchored in God, that leads to moral relativism, and when that happens, all kinds of atrocities can be made to seem justifiable - in this case the 13 million sent to the prison labor camps under Stalin. It is too bad that our nation has not taken this and similar lessons from history to heart, and is in the process of adopting similar ideologies. The recent passage of a law in New York legalizing the murder of fully formed babies about to be born, that was actually celebrated and cheered by the governor and legislators, is an example of how the same thing is happening in the United States.
As a Christian who finds comfort in God and scripture during times of trouble, I could not help but notice the absence of references to God in this movie. Instead of scripture, we find Yevgenia repeating to herself poetry for comfort, but the lines fell so short of the comfort and hope in God that scripture brings us. However, good poetry, even that which is approved under atheistic regimes that censor out overt religious elements, can still subtely point one to God, as one line in the poem Yevgenia kept repeating to herself about the capableness of her body did: "Who do I have to thank for this?" A well-written line of poetry can smuggle in hope and light beneath the radar of censors with dulled sprititual senses.
Parents should be warned that though there is no nudity, there is cleavage in a scene, a love-making scene, and a scene where the women are being raped by the guards.