My son Ben, who is 8, referred to the prison guards in the film as "the Nazis." It was an understandable mistake. When viciousness in uniform is presented on film, it is usually Nazis who are the villains. Hollywood has almost completely neglected the other 20th century horror, communism. And Hollywood has difficulty with complexity -- that is, with the real world in which people cannot be fit into neat categories of bad guys and good guys. This film, while clearly attempting to fill a gap left by Hollywood in portraying the misery of communism, does not fall into the same trap. Nor is it a dull, plotless political tract. It's a very human story, well told.
" I am David" fills another gap, as well. At the moment, most of the fare available at the multiplex is either a) stuff you'd slit your throat rather than let your children see, or b) family entertainment on the order of "Jimmy Neutron" and "Spy Kids." Though I enjoy a good "Toy Story" when it comes along, it is rare indeed to find a serious film that is also moving, historically accurate, well-made and appropriate for the whole family.