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"THE PIANIST"
(2002) (Adrien Brody, Ed Stoppard) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Extreme Extreme Extreme Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Mild None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Heavy Moderate Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A Jewish pianist tries to survive the Nazi takeover and destruction of Warsaw throughout WWII.
PLOT:
It's Warsaw 1939 and Wladyslaw Szpilman (ADRIEN BRODY) is a concert pianist working in a recording studio. A nearby bombing puts a halt to that, resulting in Wladyslaw heading home. There, his Jewish parents (FRANK FINLAY & MAUREEN LIPMAN) and siblings, Henryk (ED STOPPARD), Regina (JULIA RAYNER) and Halina (JESSICA KATE MEYER), are trying to figure out what to take with them should the increasing Nazi presence in their city force them to flee.

Wladyslaw has no intention of leaving. After all, he loves his city and is fond of Dorota (EMILIA FOX), a Polish cellist. She's concerned, however, with the growing anti-Semitism that's on display. It's not long before the family is moved into a walled-in ghetto, however, and the family tries to adjust. Itzak Heller (ROY SMILES), a Jewish collaborator of the Nazis, wants Wladyslaw and Henryk to join his Jewish police force, but the brothers refuse the offer.

As they try to make enough money to support the family, conditions progressively worsen until everyone is eventually deported, save for Wladyslaw who's pulled aside by Itzak and thus spared. With help from Benek (ANDRZEJ BLUMENFELD), the owner of the restaurant where he formerly played piano, Wladyslaw gets work, but the conditions are tough and the German officers and guards are harsh.

Things continue to worse, resulting in Wladyslaw seeking out help from underground sympathizers who place him in various "safe houses" where he has nothing to do but watch and listen to the outside world. Following the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, Wladyslaw finds himself on his own once again. With brief help from Dorota and others as well as German Captain Wilm Hosenfeld (THOMAS KRETSCHMANN), Wladyslaw tries to survive while awaiting the end of the war.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're interested in WWII movies, the Jewish experience during that historical time or are fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem likely that any but the oldest of teens might be interested in seeing it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence and brief strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ADRIEN BRODY plays a Jewish pianist who finds his world turned upside down when Nazi control of his city and people progressively worsens. He eventually finds himself on his own and must do whatever is necessary or possible to survive.
  • ED STOPPARD plays his defiant brother who has a bad attitude about the overall deteriorating situation.
  • THOMAS KRETSCHMANN plays a compassionate German officer who befriends Wladyslaw and helps him survive.
  • FRANK FINLAY and MAUREEN LIPMAN play Wladyslaw's parents who worry about him and the rest of the family in light of what's occurring.
  • EMILIA FOX plays a young woman and Jewish sympathizer who repeatedly tries to help Wladyslaw.
  • ROY SMILES plays a Jewish Nazi collaborator who saves Szpilman's life.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. All sorts of Holocaust and anti-Semitic related behavior and material is present, including Nazi soldiers and officers belittling, beating and/or executing many Jews. The latter is seen in graphic form with many people being shot and killed (with bloody results), some being killed in other ways, and the repeated sight of dead and bloody bodies lying on the streets. Other war-related violence is also present.

    Many of those sights and scenes could be disturbing, while they and others might also be tense or suspenseful. Profanity consists of at least 2 "f" words and a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases. Meanwhile, various characters smoke and/or drink.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Liquor is poured for a toast.
  • There's talk of guards being bribed so that alcohol and tobacco can be brought in.
  • An officer drinks liquor from a bottle and appears to be intoxicated.
  • A man brings Wladyslaw some liquor, and he and others have shots.
  • A man pours vodka for himself and Wladyslaw.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Szpilman has some blood on him after an explosion.
  • We see blood around a body on the street from a distance.
  • We see various dead bodies on the street.
  • A guard shoots a woman in the head and we see blood on the street.
  • We see various dead bodies on the street with bloodstains around them and on nearby walls, etc.
  • We see more dead bodies everywhere with blood on or around them.
  • A German officer randomly selects various Jewish workers and then executes them one by one by shooting them in the head (with bloody results).
  • We see blood next to dead people who've recently been shot.
  • A woman runs down the street but is shot and killed (and blood runs down her back - seen from a distance).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The Nazis and other German forces who occupy, deport, kill and otherwise do inhumane things to many people obviously have extreme cases of bad attitudes (particularly regarding the anti-Semitism), and all of that occurs throughout the movie.
  • Two German soldiers make old and sick Jews dance to entertain them.
  • Henryk has a bad attitude that stems from what's occurring to the Jews.
  • A ghetto inhabitant tries to steal food from a woman.
  • We hear that a man who was supposed to help Wladyslaw didn't bring him food and kept donated money for himself.
  • Wladyslaw spots Germans piling up bodies on the street, pouring gasoline on them and then setting them on fire. They then casually hang out as the bodies burn near them.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Tense Family Scenes" might also be unsettling, tense or suspenseful to viewers, as might the overall foreboding aura that grows as the story unfolds.
  • Szpilman comes across a kid trying to climb through a hole at the bottom of a wall who's being beaten on the other side (he's screaming). He gets him through, but the boy dies.
  • Upon hearing a transport truck arriving in the neighborhood, members of the Szpilman family race to turn off the lights in their apartment. They then see German officers/soldiers enter an apartment across the street. One punches one of the residents and we then see them dump an elderly, wheelchair-bound man off the balcony down to the street several stories below (we don't see the impact, but do see blood around him from a distance). Others then try to run away down the street, but all are shot dead. As the truck leaves, it then drives over the various bodies lying on the street.
  • There's talk that a distraught woman smothered her baby to try to avoid being captured.
  • A German officer randomly selects various Jewish workers and then executes them one by one by shooting them in the head.
  • We know that Wladyslaw and others are smuggling weapons in food that's brought in, and then see a German becoming suspicious of what he has in a sack. He finds food other than what's supposed to be in there, but doesn't find the gun (although he threatens to shoot him next time if he lies to him again).
  • After being told that it would be better to jump from his secretive flat than be caught by the Germans, Wladyslaw hears soldiers enter his building. He prepares to jump out, but then sees that they took others instead. Later, he accidentally makes a loud noise and the neighbor pounds on his door and threatens to turn him in (he flees).
  • Wladyslaw goes a long time without food while being locked inside a "safe house."
  • Wladyslaw finds himself unable to get out of his locked "safe house" and panics as things worse outside.
  • A tank fires upon Wladyslaw's building, temporarily rendering him partially deaf and destroying much of the building. He then gets up onto the roof just in time, but ends up hanging from the roof with soldiers shooting at him.
  • Wladyslaw plays dead on the road as enemy forces pass by.
  • Wladyslaw spots Germans piling up bodies on the street, pouring gasoline on them and then setting them on fire. They then casually hang out as the bodies burn near them.
  • Germans use flamethrowers to blast various buildings (with Wladyslaw getting out just in time).
  • Wladyslaw hears people inside what he thought was a deserted home and then tries to hide by going further upstairs.
  • Russian soldiers fire upon Wladyslaw (thinking he's German due to the officer's coat he's wearing), throw a grenade in his direction, and then aim their guns at him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles/Machine guns/Artillery/Molotov Cocktails/Rocket/Tanks/Flamethrower: Used to kill people and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Why the f*cking coat?" "German f*ckers," "Piece of sh*t," "Don't give a damn," "Idiot," "Giving them hell" and "Dirty bastards."
  • For kids/teens already predisposed to such behavior and/or attitudes, it's possible the film could inspire further anti-Semitic behavior and/or attitudes.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of such music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 "f" words, 3 "s" words (and another possible one), 2 damns, 1 hell, 1 S.O.B., 4 uses of "My God" and 1 use of "For God's sakes" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A classic-style statue shows bare breasts.
  • A woman shows some cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • Wladyslaw smokes once, as does Henryk, while various miscellaneous characters smoke throughout the film in many different scenes.
  • There's talk of guards being bribed so that alcohol and tobacco can be brought in.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see a distraught child by a dead parent on the ground.
  • Wladyslaw's family tries to deal with the worsening situation (which includes Wladyslaw having to save his brother) and is eventually separated from the rest of them forever as they're deported.
  • There's talk that a distraught woman smothered her baby to try to avoid being captured.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy and/or artistic license regarding the story as presented.
  • Anti-Semitism.
  • WWII and Nazi Germany.
  • How people can treat others the way they've done in the past (and still do today in some places).
  • Living in a city under siege.
  • The will to survive.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Various explosions rock a radio studio and as they grow closer, they cause property damage to it (first blowing out a window and then destroying much of it and damaging Szpilman.
  • A German soldier punches an older Jewish man in the face.
  • Henryk grabs Wladyslaw by the coat in a confrontational moment.
  • Szpilman comes across a kid trying to climb through a hole at the bottom of a wall who's being beaten on the other side (he's screaming). He gets him through, but the boy dies.
  • German officers/soldiers enter an apartment across the street. One punches one of the residents and we then see them dump an elderly, wheelchair-bound man off the balcony down to the street several stories below (we don't see the impact, but do see blood around him from a distance). Others then try to run away down the street, but all are shot dead. As the truck leaves, it then drives over the various bodies lying on the street.
  • A Jewish cop hits another person and then throws Henryk to the street while freeing him.
  • A guard backhands Wladyslaw.
  • A guard shoots a woman in the head after she asks a question.
  • We see various dead bodies on the street with bloodstains around them and on nearby walls, etc.
  • There's struggling as people are put on a train, and a guard repeatedly hits a man with his rifle butt. We later see more dead bodies on the ground after that.
  • A German officer randomly selects various Jewish workers and then executes them one by one by shooting them in the head.
  • A guard repeated whips Wladyslaw on the back for dropping some bricks.
  • A man repeatedly whips various Jewish workers.
  • We hear gunfire and explosions and then see German soldiers fired upon by Jewish resistance fighters (who also throw Molotov cocktails at them). The Germans shoot back and grenades are thrown and explode. The Germans then bring in heavy artillery that blasts a large hole in the wall. More people on both sides are shot and we then see many burning buildings inside the wall.
  • We see some burning people jump from several floors above a street. We don't see the impact, although German soldiers cheer.
  • We see German soldiers throwing resistance fighters out to the street, throwing them back against a wall and mowing them down with machine guns.
  • Rebels shoot German guards/soldiers and set off explosions during an uprising. A man fires a rocket that causes a large explosion and more people on both sides are shot and wounded or killed.
  • A woman runs down the street but is shot and killed.
  • A tank fires upon Wladyslaw's building, temporarily rendering him partially deaf and destroying much of the building. He then gets up onto the roof just in time, but ends up hanging from the roof with soldiers shooting at him.
  • More people are shot dead on both sides of the conflict.
  • Wladyslaw spots Germans piling up bodies on the street, pouring gasoline on them and then setting them on fire.
  • Germans use flamethrowers to blast various buildings (with Wladyslaw getting out just in time).
  • Russian soldiers fire upon Wladyslaw (thinking he's German due to the officer's coat he's wearing), throw a grenade in his direction, and then aim their guns at him.



  • Reviewed December 9, 2002 / Posted January 3, 2003

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