We Were the Lucky Ones: A Story of Survival

Nechuma (Robin Weigert), Halina (Joey King), Mila (Hadas Yaron), Selim (Michael Aloni), Herta (Moran Rosenblatt), Genek (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) and Jakob (Amit Rahav) in We Were the Lucky Ones -- “Radom” - Episode 101. Photo credit: Vlad Cioplea/Hulu.

We Were the Lucky Ones brings Georgia Hunter’s bestselling novel to the small screen, depicting one family’s survival during the Holocaust.

If you’re going to watch the series, do not wait for all episodes to be available. Watch episodes as the air or maybe even a few episodes at a time. Much like A Small Light last year, I made the mistake of binge-watching the press screeners in a single day. Some of the press screeners were not final with missing VFX, ADR, or final color. However, it didn’t have any major impact on the larger story at hand. Anyway, binge-watching was obviously not the best decision on my part as the series is very heavy viewing as all Holocaust movies and TV series are. Regardless, this is a series that I recommend very highly. I did not have a dry eye by the time that the finale came to an end.

One thing that I appreciate about the series is how many people are Jewish in front and behind the camera. One could not really make a series about a Jewish family during the Holocaust and not cast Jews in the roles. It is more important now than ever to push for authentic representation. The fact that Jews are in major Jewish roles speaks to the authenticity of the series. It is another reason why I highly recommend the show. I wish I could be discussing a non-Holocaust title but Hollywood likes to profit from Jewish trauma for some reason. There’s something about Jewish trauma especially as it is on the mind of many people. But at the same time, it is clear that we need more Holocaust education in this country.

We Were the Lucky Ones key artwork.
We Were the Lucky Ones key artwork. Courtesy of Hulu.

The eight-episode limited series follows the Kurc family from Passover 1939 through just after the Holocaust. The family, living in Radom in Poland, was a target for being Jewish. Much like many Jewish families living in Europe, they did what they could to survive, not knowing if they would ever see each other again. It was one of the worst periods in Jewish history with six million being wiped out. Entire family lines would perish during a systemic genocide. The odds were stacked against them but again, they would do what they could while not knowing if other loved ones were still alive or not. If you’re anything like me, it will be very emotional viewing. Again, the finale had my in tears.

I’m sure that I will have more to say about the crafts at a later date. But for now, I want to praise Rachel Portman’s work on the main title theme. It is a perfect fit for the series especially with the use of strings.

I was not as familiar with the Kurc family story going into the series. Obviously, I knew that Joey King was starring in a Holocaust TV series for Hulu but this was the extent of my knowledge. If you’ve read the book, you’re in a better position than most viewers. Everyone else will just have to wait for future episodes to air unless they decide to just go ahead and buy the book. Without being able to go into extensive details about the finale, what I will say is that I appreciate how the series is bookended with Pesach sedarim. If this isn’t enough to get the tear ducts flowing, I don’t know what is. I had tears watching from just knowing my own family’s history–my 2nd great-grandmother didn’t survive. My great-grandfather’s sister’s family died except for one son.

The launch of We Were the Lucky Ones on Hulu could not be more timely and relevant as Jews are once again fighting for the right to exist as Jews. As I pressed play on the series, I do not know what the future is for Jewry in America with a massive amount of Jew-hatred. The question of where the future holds for us remains to be determined.

DIRECTORS: Thomas Kail (1, 8), Amit Gupta (2-3, 6), Neasa Hardiman (4-5, 7)
WRITERS: Erica Lipez (1-2, 8), Adam Milch (3), Anya Meksin (4), Jonathan Caren (5), Eboni Booth (6), Tea Ho & Adam Milch (7)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Erica Lipez, Thomas Kail, Jennifer Todd, Adam Milch, Amit Gupta
CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jonathan Caren, Georgia Hunter, Nick O’Hagan,
CAST: Joey King, Logan Lerman, Hadas Yaron, Robin Weigert, Lior Ashkenazi, Amit Rahav, Eva Feiler, Henry-Lloyd Hughes, Moran Rosenblatt, Sam Woolf

Hulu will premiere the first three episodes of We Were the Lucky Ones on March 28, 2024. New episodes will premiere weekly. Grade: 5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.