Set in 1961, Ida (Trzebuchowska) is a sheltered orphan in a convent who wants to be a nun, but is ordered to meet her newly-discovered, only living relative before she can take her vows. To say her aunt, Wanda (Kulesza), changes her life would be an understatement.
Wanda has lost her religion, become disillusioned, constantly drinks and smokes, and has one night stands more out of habit than anything else. She takes a certain cruel delight in mocking Ida's ignorance, especially how Ida wants to be a nun when she is, in fact, Jewish. Despite their differences, or perhaps because of them, the two agree to return to the village where Wanda and Ida's mother were born and find out what happened to Ida's parents and to discover their own pasts that were unknown or hidden. Each will be tested and emerged changed, though we can't say if it's for better or for worse.
Heartwrenching, unflinching, with a vein of sardonic bite, Ida might just change you, too.