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The Devil's Arithmetic

Hannah is a typical American teenager, and finds her family's constant emphasis on remembering their Jewish heritage frustrating -- and her grandfather, with his angry and fearful rants about the Nazis, embarrassing. The events of the Holocaust were from so long ago; wouldn't it be better if they all just forgot them?

But when Hannah opens the door for the prophet Elijah during the Seder ritual, she is transported back in time to a small village in 1940s Poland, just before she and the rest of the Jews living there are transported to a concentration camp. Can Hannah hold onto her identity amidst the horrors and dehumanization of the Shoah -- and can she ever make it home to her own time?

Based on Jane Yolen's novel, this film is a remarkable and touching way to introduce Holocaust history.

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"Director Donna Deitch provides an infinite library of Holocaust detail, re-creating the period with minute dedication. Haunting images, every costume, every hair, every light and shadow conspire to maintain a sense of desolate desperation. Suspense pervades as escapes fail and mothers with newborns are taken away. Only the magical context of the story, taken from the original children's novel by Jane Yolen, allows for a life-affirming ending....The message is powerfully direct, but the film avoids extreme violence in deference to young audiences. The theme is enshrined in Rivka's words: 'We must stay alive to tell everyone what we've been through.'" -- Lloyd Chesley, Reviews

Product Details

Media Type Movie
Recommended Age 12 and up
Special Features Mighty Girl Top Picks
Actors Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Paul Freeman, Mimi Rogers, Louise Fletcher
Director Donna Deitch
Running Time 95 minutes
Studio Showtime Ent.
Release Date Sep 21, 2004
Language English