Pianist, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

In Roman Polanskis moving and haunting drama, Jewish pianist (Adrian Brody, Oscar winner for Best Actor) Wladyslaw Szpilman, on whose autobiography the movie is based, plays the piano on the radio in Nazi-occupied Warsaw in 1938. As the war nears, he continues his music until the bombs destroy the studio. He and his parents and sisters, along with the rest of the Jews in Poland, face increased scrutiny by the cruel Nazi overseers. Eventually his family is placed on the prison camp train, and Szpilman escapes to the free part of the city. What follows are his struggles to survive as he is hidden in different places by an underground organization of Jewish sympathizers. Forced to remain quiet to avoid detection, Szpilman can only play the music in his head, moving his fingers on imaginary keyboards. When he is discovered hiding by a Nazi officer, his musical ability comes into play.

The Pianist is a brutally realistic look at the treatment of the Polish Jews during the Holocaust. The prevalent violence, albeit not gratuitous, causes Preview to issue a negative acceptability rating. Jews are shown being beaten by their German captors, and a wheelchair-bound man is thrown from a balcony by laughing Nazi soldiers. Horrifying execution scenes are commonplace: soldiers open fire and kill a group of people as they run for cover, an officer calmly walks behind a row of prisoners and shoots several in the head, a squad leader opens fire on a line of people while others watch, and streets are shown littered with dead bodies. The Germans mock and tease their captives, forcing them to dance and sing. War scenes with bombings, explosions, gunfire battles and fires are frequent. The excessively graphic violence, while a realistic and historical look at the Holocaust, earns The Pianist its negative acceptability rating.

Preview Reviewer: Bob Nusser

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: few (4) mild (hell, damn); moderate (bastard)

Obscene Language: several (7) F-word, S-word

Profanity: few (3) exclamatory (TG, G forbid, G sake)

Violence: many man hit with nightstick; man punched in face; man clubbed with rifle; man whipped; woman shot in head; boy crushed under wall; people shot execution style; wheelchair bound man thrown from balcony; soldiers open fire on civilians; war violence including shootings, tanks, fires and explosions

Sex: none

Nudity: none

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: none

Drugs: few people in pubs smoking and drinking

Other: disparaging remarks made toward Jewish citizens, soldiers mock Jewish prisoners and make them dance and sing for their entertainment, music is shown as a calming influence able to touch even the harsh soldiers, German officer has compassion for Jewish prisoner, atrocities shown of Nazi treatment toward Jewish people

Running Time: 148 minutes.
Intended Audience: adults.

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