Forgotten Love (2023)

Forgotten Love (2023)





Drama, Romance
Anna Szymańczyk, Artur Barciś, Ignacy Liss
140 min
Reviewed by Isabella Endrinal

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Yes, amnesia plots have been done so many times before, but this adaptation does it pretty well! No wonder the novel is a Polish classic.

What it's about

After losing his memory, respected surgeon Rafal Wilczur now lives as impoverished vagrant Antoni Kosiba, though this hasn’t affected his intuitive genius as a surgeon. It has, however, separated him from his daughter Marysia. After 15 years, they bump into each other again without any recognition of one another, but with a yearning for the family that they lost.

The take

After two adaptations, with the 1982 version considered a Christmastime classic for Polish families, Forgotten Love can seem like a redundant take on the iconic Polish novel. With twenty more minutes, it seems like the new Netflix adaptation could only improve its take through better production design, and sure, it certainly delivers that pre-war aesthetic through period-accurate costumes, props, and sets. However, Forgotten Love takes a more streamlined approach to the novel’s plot, through changing certain character choices. Without spoiling too much, some choices paint certain characters in a better light, while other changes prove to add an entertaining twist, such as the humorous way the villagers defend Kosiba. Znachor takes the 1937 story into the present, bringing a new generation through the emotional journey of the cherished Polish tale.

What stands out

The biggest change in Forgotten Love compared to the two film adaptations is the character Zoska. Zoska is not present at all in previous versions, given that she’s not a character in the novel or in the sequels of the first adaptation. Written as a secondary main character and Kosiba’s love interest, the addition of Zoska could have been the film’s weak point. Instead, Zoska is an excellent change, with Anna Szymanczyk’s performance. The scene where Zoska disallows the Count’s family doctor to enter their barn is so entertaining, and as the peasant woman fights against the upper-class doctor for the nobility, it makes sense for a story all about class dynamics.

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