"Ida" Well-Received by US Press

Ida, photo courtesy of Solopan


Ida, a film directed by Paweł Pawlikowski and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute was released theatrically in the United States on May 2, 2014 and was warmly received by American film critics. Box office revenues have reached almost one million dollars.

Almost $1,000,000 Box Office

Ida was released theatrically in the United States on May 2, 2014. Distribution in the United States is handled by Music Box Films. After the first month of screening, box office revenue has reached almost one million dollars ($958,000 according to Box Office Mojo). Ida was released on 58 screens across the country.

New Yorker

Ida was very well received by American film critics. The film has been reviewed by the top US magazines and online media. Below are excerpts from selected reviews.

In his review for the New Yorker, David Debny writes: “[…] the stillness of the great new Polish film Ida comes as something of a shock. I can’t recall a movie that makes such expressive use of silence and portraiture.” David Debny dubs Ida “a compact masterpiece.” He also had words of praise about the cinematography: “the director and his fledgling cinematographer, Łukasz Żal, shot the movie in hard-focus black and white; they have produced images so distinct and powerful that they sharpen our senses.

New York Times

According to A.O. Scott who reviewed Ida for the New York Times, “Ida has some of the structure and feeling of an ancient folk tale. […] [w]ithin its relatively brief duration and its narrow black-and-white frames, the movie somehow contains a cosmos of guilt, violence and pain. […] Ida is as compact and precise as a novella, a sequence of short, emphatic scenes that reveal the essence of the characters without simplifying them.” As Scott states, Ida leaves an impression on audiences also “thanks to Łukasz Żal and Ryszard Lenczewski’s beautifully misty, piercingly sharp monochrome cinematography.”

Film Forward

Nora Lee Mandel of Film Forward published a review that reads: “Ida is an exquisitely beautiful road trip through the emotional consequences of exposing Poland’s expedient secrets and denials. […] The gorgeous black-and-white cinematography resonates to Polish master Andrzej Wajda’s treatment of similar subjects [in] the post-Holocaust Landscape After Battle (1970) and Man of Marble (1977) […].”


For Dana Stevens of Slate, Ida is “a journey you won’t forget.” Stevens focuses on Wanda, played by Agata Kulesza: “As played, stupendously, by the veteran Polish TV, stage, and film actress Agata Kulesza, Wanda is a vortex of a character, as fascinating […] as she is bottomlessly sad.” She also addresses the film’s visual side: “There isn’t a frame of Ida […] that isn’t composed with superb artistry and attention to detail.”


In a review published on www.rogerebert.com, Godfrey Cheshire emphasizes that Ida is “composed of austerely gorgeous black and white images. […] Riveting, original and breathtakingly accomplished on every level, Ida would be a masterpiece in any era, in any country.” According to Cheshire, “few recent films can claim a visual approach as striking as that which cinematographers Łukasz Żal and Ryszard Lenczewski give Ida. […] Besides [its] historical acuity, the film gives us a fascinating pair of matched archetypes in its main characters, which are realized in two exquisite performances.”

Indie Wire

Indie Wire also published a substantial piece about Ida.


“Gorgeously crafted, the black-and-white cinematography and a sublimely written story allow for very little room to critique a film with not a single miscalculation. Agata Trzebuchowska as Anna/Ida is spectacularly contained and tranquil playing off the more violent emotions delivered by the also marvelous Agata Kulesza, as the apparently strong, yet vulnerable Wanda. […] With Ida, Pawlikowski has introduced a new art house classic,” writes Indie Wire’s Carlos Aguilar.

More Good Reviews

Paweł Pawlikowski’s Ida was also warmly received in Europe, by film critics and audiences alike. The film enjoyed great reviews from critics in France and Italy. Ida also received praise after screening at some of the world’s top festivals, including the Toronto IFF.


Paulina Bez


Translated by Karolina Kołtun