Film: Martha Coolidge’s ‘I’ll Find You’

Music is often an important component of film, elevating the action and visual settings while usually taking a back seat. As effective as it can be, it’s rarely central to a film’s story or central emotion.

The exception is Martha Coolidge’s “I’ll Find You,” a solid romance set during World War II in which a Catholic opera singer becomes smitten with a smart Jewish violinist in prewar Poland, with whom he becomes separated.

Leo Suter of “Sanditon” and “Valhalla” fame stars as the tenor (whose singing voice is dubbed, as are most in the film). The radiant Adelaide Clemens of TV’s “Rectify” and “Parade’s End” is the violinist. And there’s quite a bit of when they met as children in a school for talented musicians, where they are played charmingly by Sebastian Croft and Ursula Parker, who has the same serious look as her adult counterpart she also has some skills as a violinist.

Based on a family story by Zbigniew John Raczynski, who was also a primary producer, the film, originally titled “Music, War and Love” began production some seven years ago, but was mired in production challenges, an attempted change of directors, a lawsuit in part over a ballooning budget, and a near-two year wait for distribution until the pandemic cooled.

A handsome film almost entirely shot in Poland (but with actors speaking English — though the version I saw had Polish subtitles), it has some impressive production values, with several large set pieces featuring scores of costumed extras, convincing 1940s trains, cars and streetcars, grand concert halls and detailed period sets. When there aren’t grand period buildings to shoot in they built them — including the building and burning down of a liberated concentration camp in Poland.

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