I haven't seen Frank Beyer's original so I can't really comment on this film as a remake but I can probably take a educated guess at it's comparisons. I wont though as that is a bad habit and one should stay open-minded, that said, I will defend the fact that this is not a comedy, Robin Williams and the rest of the cast are not 'milking the Holocaust for laughs' and I don't think Roberto Benigni's was either in Life Is Beautiful. It is however, a very average film about a delicate subject that deserves better.
February 23, 2006
[font=Arial][color=darkred]In the fickle entertainment industry of celluloid, nothing can be as detremental to a film's success as timimg. And the latest Robin William's weepy not only suffers from poor timing, it cuts its own throat with the careless mistake. Coming hot on the heels of another World War II comedy/drama known affectionately as 'Life is Beautiful' would have proved much better if the foriegn film had stayed in the art house screens and quickly come and gone. Instead Roberto Benigni's touching film made its way to big screens, broke the record for best receits of a foriegn film in America, and went on to steal all of the nation's hearts and pick up three Oscar statuettes for the mantle. The Hollywood version of Benigni's Holocaust fable proves what happens when people take something that was a miracle it worked once before, and so well, and try catching lightening in a bottle again.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]'Jakob the Liar' is never truly any form of comedy, unless you thought 'Hogans Heroes' was in dire need of a big screen adaption because all the other Holocaust movies did not accurately portray the wackiness that was Nazi Germany. Most of the jokes are so grim and morbid that you'll be gritting teeth more than smiling.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]The story can be very ham-fisted and forceful at times, interesting considering there's not much driving any story. and the end is scene-for-scene exact with Benigni's flick. Most of the performances are marginable, with many appearing to be weary that they're even in the movie. The story's addition of a little girl that William's takes under his wing for guidance is more of a distracting subplot taking attention away from the common thread of one man giving hope to the hopeless. Minus one charming scene with William's improvising a radio broadcast with kitchen utensils she's mainly a pointless addition.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]The splinter in the paw of this movie is Robin Williams himself. Anyone out there remember when he used to do comedy, not schmaltzy laiden bittersweet tug-from-the-heart-strings mellodrama? I didn't think so. Williams is more damaging a presence then anything else. Though his mugging is restrained for the most part, the schmaltzy sentimentality burns thin rather quickly. The movie tries to manipulate you into feeling for it and letting the floodgates loose with those tear ducts, but it's so clear it's not going to make you feel but manipulate that you can very easily see the strings as they're being pulled.[/color][/font] [font=Arial][color=#8b0000][/color][/font] [font=Arial][color=#8b0000]'Jakob the Liar' does have a good director at its helm to show the Holocaust as the grim reality it was and not suger-coat anything. A great deal of gratitude should go to the director for at least partially saving 'Jakob' from being worse than it could be. Though I'm of the mind that I'm positive audiences will love it and most likely bash me, I just want everyone to know that Roberto Benigni did it earlier and better and I'd stress seeing that movie instead. Because 'Jakob the Liar' can't hold a candle to 'Life is Beautiful'.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: C [/color][/font]
May 15, 2010
I loved this movie. Robin Williams and Liev Schreiber were outstanding. This movie is set during WW2 in Warsaw where Nazis have taken control of a community of Jews. Jakob is one of the jews and somehow the word gets out that he owns a radio which according to Nazis is not allowed. Jakob tells his fellow citizens news that he claims that he has heard on the radio and this keeps the hopes up in the community, hopes that the war will soon have an end. This truly is a touching story and it is so well played by these talented actors.
I admire Robin Williams as an actor but I have no time for "holocaust" movies. To me they are nothing more than awards bait. I don't believe a single one has ever truly portrayed what actually went on, and a diet version of such events is criminal. This film tries to show the harshness but the tone is too light and nothing happens that you don't expect.
Well the critics hated this movie and I'm just reminded to ignore what critics think. While you may not want to spend money to see this film I still think you will be the better for having seen it. There are valuable lessons to be learned about Human Nature and our universe from cinema and this film does it well.
September 28, 2009
I do love Robin Williams and the variety in his roles. He is a great comedy actor but also knows how to bring across a more serious character like this one.
Robin Williams is phenomenal and adds a wonderful, tangible spin in his character that helps bring the horrors of the Holocaust
July 10, 2008
Robin Williams is phenomenal and adds a wonderful, tangible spin in his character that helps bring the horrors of the Holocaust up close and personal in a non-threatening way. Very well done.
I thought this was a pretty OK film. touchy handling of subject matter aside, I really don't find it all that farfecthed that some people may have tried to find humour in their situations. If you're looking for accurate historical perspectives on the Holocaust, this isn't your movie. But it's still a somewhat amusing, touching story about hope and humanity.
October 7, 2007
Saw this in 9th grade World History, and I teared up right there in class at the end of the movie. Excellent film.
August 20, 2007
This movie was so awesome! Such a sad ending, but it has so much detail into such a great and inspiring story.
this movie was so sad jakob did what he could do give that girl hope and in the end suffered the same fate as so many other innocent souls
April 25, 2007
Robin Williams portrays a role that out stands many in this view of the world war holocast, being held in a jewish concentration camp, jakob does the best he can do. a definite robin williams movie, great story, if you like this also see my review for the english patient
February 21, 2007
Robin Williams tries with all his heart to make this embarressing, and illogical Holocaust film work. As Jakob, Williams finds a new rythem of drama, he uses lies and imagination to entertain. The idea of a man telling stories to keep hope alive in the Holocaust, is inspiring, yet the film drowns in it's on sea of sympathy. The film plays like a tv series, each prisoner is made ignorant and offensive. By the dark and annoyingly tragic ending, you want to escape your own Holocaust known as 'Jakob the Liar'. Stereotypical and ridiculous.
January 20, 2007
Funny and oh so sad. A wonderful story about the Holocaust that shows it's brutality and how the Jews managed to survive.
January 14, 2007
Not bad for a Robin Williams film.... for a moment I ALMOST believed he could play Jewish. But it was more for Liev Schreiber that I watched this one.... and now that he's gone on to make the thoroughly gorgeous EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED, you'd have to say at least one good thing came out of this film.