Some of the themes have been explored before: a young woman discovering herself (e.g. Blue is the Warmest Color), guilt and revelation about the Holocaust (e.g. Dekalog 8), a woman forced to seek herself before entering a convent (Viridiana). But never have these themes been executed with such beauty and composition. Every scene is expertly posed, I would want a still from every one on my wall.
Ida herself is almost a still-- completely passive, doing as other's recommend and command. She is quiet, meek and serene, even in the face of startling revelations and great life moments. Until the very last scene where she is striding, almost running, toward the only decision we see her make: how she will spend her life. In a way that stands against modern sensibilities, this is a film about independence in its freest sense.