When it comes to family secrets, it doesn't get much worse than a mother abandoning a 4-year-old daughter to become a concentration camp guard at Auschwitz.

Unless, that is when the daughter reunites with her mother decades later to find her without remorse, and with a Nazi SS uniform still her most prized possession and hanging in the wardrobe.

Let Me Go is loosely based on the real-life story of German-born Helga Schneider, whose mother, Traudi (Karin Bertling), left Helga (Juliet Stevenson) and her brother to pursue a career in the SS. Unsurprisingly, Traudi's parenting style and departure had a lasting effect on Helga; but it's not until she's called from London to Vienna to see her dying mother that she dares deal with the impact on her and her own family relationships.

Helga has spent her life avoiding her past, with her daughter Beth (Jodhi May) and granddaughter Emily (Lucy Boynton), unaware of the truth - under the impression Traudi was dead and that the reason they were forced to tip-toe around Helga was due to her "difficult childhood" during the war.

Advertisement

While Let Me Go examines the impact of Traudi's choices on Helga, it also goes a step further and reveals how this trauma is passed through generations. When Helga reluctantly travels to confront her mother and shares the truth with Beth and Emily, this already fragile family begins to unravel.

Granddaughter Emily joins Helga on the trip, which delivers only a rather silly romantic side-plot and adds little to what is an emotive mother-daughter relationship drama. There's plenty of material to mine in this indie, crowd-funded film - we don't need a holiday romance thrown into the mix.

While the tone feels uneven, Let Me Go is handsomely shot and filled with brave subject matter - and, thanks to strong performances by Stevenson and Bertling, it leaves you with plenty to ponder.

Cast:

Juliet Stevenson, Karin Bertling

Director:

Polly Steele


Running Time:

101 mins

Rating:

M (Offensive language)

Verdict:

A worthy tale, but unevenly told.

Did You Know?

Jigsaw

The Saw horror franchise was supposed to wrap up with 2010's Saw 3D: The Final Chapter. After considering a series reboot for a number of years, the studio instead decided to continue telling Jigsaw's story, and gave him top billing for the very first time.