I watched this film with my grandmother at her request because she is a professional pianist. I am going to be writing from my grandmother’s opinion as well as my own. My grandmother really enjoyed the film as it showed the hardships people faced in that time and how hard it was to be able to do what you loved (in this case, play the piano). This film is about survival in both the body and spirit. The film gets it’s message across usually through symbolism. Wladyslaw is seen playing his piano at the beginning of the film before he is under attack from German bombs. This symbolizes the beauty of life being destroyed by the nazi German army. The song he plays represents the struggle the Jewish people had as well and how much hardship they had to face. Wladyslaw first faces physical survival giving up any shot of traveling the world with his music in order to ensure that his family is safe first and foremost. This film is a shoutout to all musicians and classical music lovers. It also elicits strong emotion as in those times of horror, people had to remain strong in the face of terror specifically coming from the nazi regime.
The final scene of the film shows Wladyslaw playing his piano in concert. It is poignant as his music represents the Jewish people. The film is really an empowering message not only to music lovers but to everyone. It is food for the soul as the continuous message throughout the film is to not give up on your dreams and to ignite the fire within you. Polanski does a great job portraying the experience in a way where it is deeply felt by the audience. The music connects to the reality of their horror and is an ignition for them to fight for every step they must take forward to reclaim their lives.