clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cold War

The passionate, tragic love story is currently in theaters.

Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Metacritic score: 91

Cold War — a decade- and continent-spanning, pristinely shot romantic tragedy from Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski — is set in Europe in the early decades of the actual Cold War. The film balances its captivating main characters and their fiery love with the grand sweep of the places and times they find themselves in.

And so it shows how those two things intertwine, with country and ideology pushing and prodding the characters into shapes that ultimately determine their fate. You couldn’t call it a political film, exactly, but if the central couple’s stars are crossed, then politics had a hand in crossing them. And in the end, the tragedy of realizing that is almost too much to bear.