Big Sonia (2017)
By Livia Peterson
Leah Warshawski's Big Sonia is a moving portrait of one of the remaining Holocaust survivors, Sonia Warshawski. She is a strong woman who endured difficult times, one that we cannot imagine without witnessing for ourselves and instead, we only understand via history textbooks that only touch the surface.
The documentary chronicles Sonia's day to day life, working and interacting at the tailor shop and speaking at various locations about the Holocaust experience. Sonia's children Debbie, Regina, and Morrie provide fascinating information about their mother and it will break one's heart. Nonetheless, Sonia is such an inspirational role model in every regard. And yes, I wish I had a Grandmother like her.
Big Sonia is intimate, poignant, and mesmerizing, and positively depicts women that stand up for themselves. Sure, the doc is conventional with interviews and archival footage. Yet, the stunning Holocaust animation sequences enhance rather than detract the significant narrative.
The Warshawski family is accessible and easy to connect and sympathize with: passionate with a heart of gold. If only the film was thirty minutes longer.
Sonia's powerful tale must be heard and once one will witness Big Sonia, your heart will be touched in more ways than one. A-
Big Sonia enjoyed a brief Wisconsin premiere at the Milwaukee Film Festival. The documentary is playing at the Times Cinema (5906 West Vliet Street in Milwaukee's Washington Heights Neighborhood) from now to Thursday, January 18, 2018.