Jakob the Liar

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: +1

Set in Poland during World War II, the story takes place in a Jewish ghetto under German control. Jakob (Robin Williams), a Jew who owns a closed-down restaurant in the ghetto, accidentally overhears a forbidden radio broadcast about the war. Radios are forbidden in the ghetto, but when Jakob makes a comment about what he heard to his friend Mischa (Liev Schreiber), rumors spread that Jakob has a radio. Suddenly, everyone wants news. Since no one will believe he doesnt have a radio, Jakob invents stories. In a hopeless existence, the stories bring hope. Dr. Kirschbaum (Armin Muehler-Stahl), a prominent doctor before the war, believes Jakob but encourages the stories because they keep the suicide rate down. But if the Germans learn of the radio, it could mean death for Jakob. This moving story has a quiet humor thats rare for Williams. And while audiences may opt for lighter fare, JAKOB THE LIAR is sure to lift the spirits of those who can look beyond the storys depressing setting.

The Jews sense of humor helps them survive. But faced with oppressive Nazi control and constant fear of death, even survival seems like a joke. The little thread of hope given by rumors of Jakobs radio becomes a lifeline for the ghetto members. Jakob takes in a ten-year-old child orphaned by the concentration camps. He cares for and hides her, although at times she seems to care for him. Jakob admits to being a bad Jew by not observing Sabbath, but the Jewish faith and culture is treated respectfully. One scene shows some Jewish wives holding what appears to be a seance, but its not taken seriously. After Mischa asks to marry, the young couple is tacitly allowed to sleep together. Although no ceremony occurs, they are accepted as married. A few moderate crude words are used and the s-word is spoken once in German. Violence, while subdued, includes several hanging bodies - both suicides and killings. A few shootings also occur, one briefly graphic. Jakob is held under water as torture and his beaten face is bloody and bruised. This story of survival of the human spirit through hope and humor will undoubtedly bring well-deserved Oscar nods.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232, (310) 280-8000

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) times - Mild 1, moderate 3

Obscene Language: Twice - S-word in German, other 1

Profanity: Few (2) times - Regular (My G, For Gs sake)

Violence: Several times - Moderate and Severe (Shootings - once graphic, hit w/sticks, kicks, hanging bodies, dead bodies, man held underwater, bloody face)

Sex: None, implied once (couple in bed-accepted as married)

Nudity: None; Near Nudity - Woman in nightgown

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Comment about couple being together, comment implies possible child abuse

Drugs: Cigarette smoking, alcoholic drinks, poison taken

Other: Women hold seance, ethnic slur or Jews used, reverence for God shown, power of hope shown, realistic portrayal of life in ghetto

Running Time: 114 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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