It’s five-thirty in the morning and Julia’s already out on the ice rink, with her mother Marina watching from the sidelines. Marina will do anything to make sure her daughter gets to be a successful figure skater. Her family has opportunities here in Poland that they simply didn’t have in Ukraine, and she’s determined to seize them—even if that means not being able to pay the rent when Julia needs new skates. So, what does Julia herself make of her mother’s aspirations? This sensitive teenager doesn’t exactly ooze enthusiasm for figure skating, but that’s not surprising, considering the pressure she’s under. Just like on the ice, there are also compulsory figures to perform at home: mealtimes, homework, arguments with her parents, sleep, and then up again at five.
Marina’s on a mission to make a success of her family’s immigration to Poland, and that’s not always conducive to a happy homelife. But in addition to the awkward arguments, there are also intimate family moments in this beautifully filmed observational portrait. Marina’s words hit hard sometimes, but they can be loving, too. Sometimes there's an air of desperation about them—are her plans for the future worth all the sacrifices?