REVIEW REWIND: Miracle at Midnight
Continuing my Disney+ Watchlist, we've come to Miracle at Midnight, which aired in 1998 as part of the Wonderful World of Disney.
The film takes place in Denmark in 1943 during Nazi occupation. The story is based on true events and revolves around a wealthy Christian Danish family named the Kosters who were part of a movement to save Jewish people from being deported to concentration camps. At the head is Doctor Karl Koster (Sam Waterston) and his wife Doris (Mia Farrow). They have two children, including Henrik (Justin Whalin) and Else (Nicola Mycroft).
Their efforts, in part, help save over 7,000 Jews from persecution. But, it came at a toll to the family who are divided when making their escape from Denmark to Sweden.
Waterson is excellent as the surgeon who risks his career and life to help. Farrow conveys fear in such a dramatic way that you can't help but feel for her. Even the kids Whalin and Mycroft held their own as they played their own part in the movement.
It should be noted that the film is remarkably bleak for a Disney film. There are gunfights, death and suicide that might be difficult for younger viewers to take. These are good opportunities for teaching moments.
That said, I have to hand it to Disney for taking on the issue of the Holocaust as part of the Wonderful World of Disney, even if this is a more sanitized version of events. We hear of concentration camps, but don't actually see them or the impact that it had on Jewish people. I remember having gone to the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and hearing some of the powerful stories of concentration camp survivors. I had a visceral reaction of almost getting sick. World War II was just an absolutely desolate time for Jewish people and this cannot be understated.
It is a great opportunity to learn about a part of history that is not well known. There were so many of these stories of courageous conviction during World War II. As Doctor Koster says, "In every language and religion, to be humane is to love your neighbor." A good lesson indeed.