Tragic work of art and one of the greatest films ever - mature content but important messages for teens, some tweens
There is a scene from Schindler's List - no, I don't think I'll start with a scene. Most critics do, and I am no exception, but in this case, I don't think it's necessary. This holds true because every scene in Spielberg's masterpiece, from the moment Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) reveals to Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), his Jewish assistant that he truly started his factory to save the Jews, not make money, to the moment Oskar later runs after the train as Itzhak is mistakenly sent to a concentration camp, to the moment that we first see the symbolic Girl in Red wandering through the darkness and brutality, could be used as an introduction and it would perfectly exemplify the film. Spielberg has crafted some of my favorite films, i.e. Saving Private Ryan, and some of the misses i.e. Empire of the Sun, but never has he crafted a work of art like this. This is a film. This is a great film. This is a film to be saved by the Library of Congress. Or any library. By any congress. Jokes aside, this is a film to be remembered. In a runtime just over three hours, it chronicles the life of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi who now is starting a business in Nazi occupied Poland, a place that he, as a German officer, helped to overtake. As you have probably heard before, Schindler was not the greatest of men. He was greedy, he was a real businessman, and he was a womanizer. His transformation, as he initially hires Jews because they are cheap, then, viewing the scenes of senseless carnage and cruelty that the Nazis were perpetrating, hires them because he wants to save them, then makes worthless material for the Nazis and works just to save more Jews, and somewhere in there creates a list of Jews which he desires to save, is the important theme of the film. It shows us, along with the nightmare of the Holocaust, that every man, regardless of his previous stature, can rise as a member of the human race and commit an act of kindness towards fellow humans. I think at this point you get the gist of what I am trying to say here. I also think this whole review was, in retrospect, me gushing over this film instead of reviewing it. But I've probably been wasting your time, your question may be: should I show this film to my kids? Firstly, it depends on the kid. That big ol' THIRTEEN PLUS up there shouldn't mean anything to you if you believe your kid is mature enough for this film. But I think it's still important to get the content out of the way: there is near constant violence towards Jews or other minorities in this film, including plenty of horrible beatings, graphic shootings, Jews struggling to survive in concentration camps, and other acts of brutality. Children are killed and young children are murdered. The violence is seemingly endless, so if your kid can't handle it, don't show it to them. There's also a considerable amount of sexual content and nudity. Oskar Schindler was an aforementioned womanizer and has an affair, including sex, with a woman. There is also full-frontal nudity in a non-sexual context. Many Jews in the concentration camps are forced to take off all of their clothes for inspections and torture and other things. There is the occasional curse, and some of these curses are indeed racially charged. Much of the early part of the film is about consumerism, but I typically don't regard that as a big deal at all and the end of the film demonstrates consumerism's problems. There's also a lot of drinking, drunk people, and smoking. I'm aware that this all seems like something for no 13 year old to view. But as a 13 year old who viewed it, I can tell you that I also checked off the great messages and great role models section (I checked off all the sections). This film's messages about being a good person, and Schindler becoming a role model out of a man that was anything but one, are probably important for teens and even some mature tweens to understand. I can likely assure you that this film will only inspire good behavior in your children. But child or adult (human), see this film.
This title contains:
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking