I remember wanting to see this movie when it was out in the theater. I also remember making a point to try to see it when I heard about Adrien Brody winning the Academy Award. Both times it simply didn’t pan out. I would get distracted by something, as per usual for me, and the memory of the movie and my desire to see it would fall into the back of my brain. Waiting for something to bring it back to the forefront again.

I had recently seen Adrien Brody for the first time in the movie “Summer of Sam” when the Pianist was in the theater. From that moment on, I have always thought of him as one of those actors with incredible potential to be a phenomenal actor someday. Well that day came when he made this movie, “The Pianist”. Luckily, a conversation with my uncle recently brought this film, and my desire to see it, back to my mind. I’ve been checking out several movies from my local library lately since I am fortunate enough to live right down the street from it. Since it’s free, I made to decision to try to watch as many movies as I can that I’ve wanted to see but have never gotten around to. In fact the credits to this movie are still playing on the television across the room as I type this. And, for the sake of documentation, it is 12:30 AM. I don’t know if I have enough steam to complete this tonight but I’m going to try. I appreciate that some reading this may not find the preceding portions of this review particularly interesting considering I have yet to say very much at all about the movie. I’m afraid that if you plan to read this blog with any frequency that you will have to get used to it as this is the way I write.

This is the incredible true story of Polish-Jew Wladyslaw Szpilman, an incredibly talented and famous pianist from Warsaw, Poland, and his amazing story of surviving the Nazi occupation of that area during World War II. Adrien Brody does a brilliant job in the lead role, many times carrying the story completely by himself with no other actors to play off of, and definitely earns his Oscar. It’s truly remarkable how so often real life stories can be so much more surprising, shocking and rich in depth than anything even the most creative minds can think up. If someone had decided to make up a story that took their audience step by tragic step though the entire process of the deterioration of the quality of life for the Jewish people under the Nazis, they could not have done better than this true story. From average citizen or even well-known well-off citizen to barely hanging on to life while hiding from the Nazis, who could bring death at anytime, and still considering yourself one of the lucky ones by comparison. There is so much more revealed in this story than just the idea of being caught and sent to a concentration camp, though there is that too.

This movie grabs your heart and doesn’t let go. It shows that through abuse, humiliation, tragedy and even death threatening you every moment, that life and hope can still somehow survive. That even when we have lost absolutely everything, that life still goes on. And also that life is not as black & white as we sometimes make it in our minds. That those we think of as evil are not always purely so and vice versa. This is a film that I definitely recommend watching if you have yet to. Even if you’ve seen a great deal of films about WWII, I believe you will find this one very surprising and beautifully done. It is definitely worth your time. It is one of those movies that is so emotionally intense that it actually drains you. So, though I’d definitely have to be in a certain mood to make it through it again, I am very glad I watched it and I gladly give it my highest praise.

Rating: 5 Stars

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