The Pianist Reviews

Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
April 25, 2011
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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
February 9, 2006
Old-fashioned in both visual and narrative style and in its overall restraint, the film clearly benefits from the director's first-hand knowledge of the territory.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 16, 2003
Brody is a sublimely haunting presence at the heart of The Pianist.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 16, 2003
It's Roman Polanski's strongest and most personally felt movie.
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David Ansen
Newsweek
January 14, 2003
In going home to tell Szpilman's story Polanski seems reborn: once again he's become a filmmaker who matters.
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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
January 13, 2003
We admire this film for its harsh objectivity and refusal to seek our tears, our sympathies.
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 10, 2003
Brody tracks Szpilman's descent from smug celebrity to feral, starving man with uncommon subtlety.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 9, 2003
A portrait of hell so shattering it's impossible to shake.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 3, 2003
The Pianist is a devastating story of survival, and a tribute to the redemptive powers of art.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 3, 2003
The Holocaust has been the subject of many films. The Pianist is one of the great ones.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 3, 2003
It is a chilling account, as barren of emotions as a Samuel Beckett play, and yet it is indescribably moving.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
January 3, 2003
The Pianist breaks no new ground, but serves as a strong reminder of one of mankind's truly awful moments.
| Original Score: B
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 3, 2003
This is not a thriller, and avoids any temptation to crank up suspense or sentiment; it is the pianist's witness to what he saw and what happened to him.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 3, 2003
Polanski's achievement here is to avoid the Holocaust porn of post-Schindler's List cinema and show us the ghetto's daily grind.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 3, 2003
In creating his one-man epic, Polanski takes us beyond the horror of evil or the banality of evil. He takes us into its hideous absurdity.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 3, 2003
A near-masterpiece.
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
January 3, 2003
The brilliance of The Pianist, a film that stands with any of the great dramas about the Holocaust, is not that its story is so unbelievable, but that it is so relentlessly matter-of-fact.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
January 3, 2003
Really not a movie that can be missed.
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
January 3, 2003
If The Pianist isn't great, it has touches of greatness in it.
| Original Score: B
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
January 3, 2003
There seems to be no end to movies that deal with the Holocaust, but The Pianist, in its craftmanship and its approach to the tale, is a story we haven't seen before.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
January 3, 2003
A movie of riveting power and sadness.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
January 3, 2003
The Pianist lacks the quick emotional connections of Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. But Mr. Polanski creates images even more haunting than those in Mr. Spielberg's 1993 classic.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
January 3, 2003
The Pianist is the film Roman Polanski may have been born to make.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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December 29, 2002
One of the most indelible Holocaust films ever made.
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John Anderson
Newsday
December 27, 2002
Cartoonish in some parts, ham-handed in others and very un-Polanski.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
December 27, 2002
After directing five clunkers in a row, Roman Polanski returns to form with the highly personal Holocaust drama The Pianist.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Charles Taylor
Salon.com
December 27, 2002
In The Pianist, Polanski is saying what he has long wanted to say, confronting the roots of his own preoccupations and obsessions, and he allows nothing to get in the way.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
December 26, 2002
It's an overdue rebound for 69-year-old Polanski.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 26, 2002
One of the very few nondocumentary movies about Jewish life and death under the Nazis that can be called definitive.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
December 26, 2002
With The Pianist, Polanski's strange genius serves Szpilman's remembrance and, in doing so, rescues his legacy from the blunder of much of the director's recent work.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 26, 2002
Not since 1974's Chinatown has Polanski reached such dramatic heights.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
December 25, 2002
This is the story of someone who lived to tell an unspeakable tale, told by someone with stories enough to do justice to its integrity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
December 25, 2002
Exhibits an admirable economy -- at least for its first half.
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
December 24, 2002
Brody's performance is flawless, graduating ever so gradually from ironic resignation to pure animal desperation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 23, 2002
This is one of Polanski's best films.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
December 19, 2002
A great film of integrity and unforgettable power that leaves you breathless with gratitude.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
December 19, 2002
Mr. Polanski is in his element here: alone, abandoned, but still consoled by his art, which is more than he has ever revealed before about the source of his spiritual survival.
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
December 19, 2002
It will break your heart many times over.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
July 29, 2002
The movie lacks those specific personal moments that pull an audience into a story and let them identify with a character.