Jakob the Liar

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Jakob the Liar ★★★ 1999 (PG-13)

Robin Williams reins in his usual manic personality in this touching tale set during the Holocaust. Jakob (Williams) is a Jew confined to the Polish ghetto by the Nazis. After he hears a radio broadcast describing German defeats while in a Nazi commandant's office, he relates the news to his friend Mischa (Schreiber). This leads to rumors that he owns a contraband radio, which is an offense punishable by death. He sees the excitement and hope that his news has brought and begins to make up new stories to encourage his oppressed community. Finally, the men become courageous enough to start a resistance movement, with Jakob as the leader. The realities of the Holocaust are shown with no attempt to sugarcoat them, and the performances are excellent all around. 114m/C VHS, DVD . Robin Williams, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Alan Arkin, Bob Balaban, Michael Jeter, Liev Schreiber, Hannah Taylor Gordon, Nina Siemaszko, Mathieu Kassovitz, Mark Margolis; D: Peter Kassovitz; W: Peter Kassovitz, Didier Decoin; C: Elemer Ragalyi; M: Ed Shearmur.