I’ll Find You is a fairly typical historical romance film, with a few specific flourishes that give it enough character to not feel like a total chore. Rachel (Adelaide Clemens) and Robert (Leo Suter) are lovers bound by a love of music and separated by the forces of heritage and history. As is the tradition with this sort of thing, they meet as children who can’t quite tolerate one another. Respectively played as children by Ursula Parker and Sebastian Croft, Rachel and Robert are both prodigious musicians at an early age. Her craft is the violin. His is voice. They’re both Polish, but Rachel’s family is Jewish and Robert’s is Catholic. It causes drama in their households, but their connection stands firm through adolescence and into adulthood. Things change, however, when the Nazis roll into town. Robert is forced to serve two masters, all while trying to reconnect with his lost love before it’s too late.
The screenplay by David S. Ward and Bozenna Intrator does a pretty decent job of setting up both Rachel and Robert’s distinct cultural spheres before the invasion of Poland, which gives some heft to the tragedy they experience aside from audiences’ real-world knowledge of the Holocaust. Once separated, Robert’s story becomes the prime driver of the plot, as his mentor, Benno Moser (Stellan Skarsgård), becomes involved with an anti-Hitler conspiracy while also assisting in the search for Rachel. Although it seems a little broad for a film that fundamentally focuses on a romance grounded in real-world tragedy, the conspiracy stuff gives the middle act some immediate oomph and Skarsgård is always a welcome presence.
Director Martha Coolidge — best known for 1980s classics Valley Girl and Real Genius — does journeyman work here, shooting an adequately authentic 1930s and ’40s story. Some of the sequences within liberated concentration camps at the end of the film are tasteful but horrifying in equal measure. Coolidge shoots the romance with intimacy and weight, and the last bits of the story, set in the United States after the war, have the appropriate buildup to the big reconciliation.
Setting a star-crossed romance against the backdrop of World War II, particularly the Holocaust, is hardly novel, but the film’s greatest asset is the musical nature of its lovers’ connection. Coolidge and company ensure there are plenty of performances throughout the movie, usually during important emotional beats. It’s hardly a musical, but this element isn’t just a throwaway. Rachel and Robert connect through their music; the audience, in turn, connects with them just the same.
Again, not much or exciting here. It’s a nice romance, written and directed effectively and told with just enough of a twist to stay engaging. I found it adequate.