Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

In 1944 Nazi-occupied Poland, former pancake vendor Jakob Heym accidentally overhears a radio news bulletin suggesting that the Soviet army is successfully advancing on German forces. He takes this news back to the "ghetto" as a sliver of hope for friends in desperate need of it. They eat it up. It doesn't take long for rumors to spread about Jakob's reported pipeline to the outside world. His Jewish friends are under the false impression that he owns a radio, which is nothing short of communications contraband. After several attempts to straighten out the misunderstanding, he discovers that it's easier, and quite possibly in everyone's best interest, if he simply lets them continue to believe the lie. They eagerly anticipate his daily reports that suggest WWII may soon be over. One of those delightfully deceived fans is a 10-year-old girl named Lina who strikes up a friendship with Jakob after her parents are taken to a concentration camp. Eventually the Nazis set out to cleanse the ghetto and, in the process, find the radio they've been told exists. Think of Jakob the Liar as Schindler's List Lite. Despite some humorous moments, this is ultimately a tragic tale true to the horror of the Holocaust. Many characters die, either from Nazi guns or at their own desperate hands. But behind those individual stories, the film poses an overarching question: "Are people better off with dark truth or false hope?"

Positive Elements: Characters face moral dilemmas bravely. A few even put themselves in danger in order to rescue or give hope to others. While initially reluctant to unofficially adopt Lina, Jakob loves and cares for her as he would his own daughter. Any viewer with a conscience should walk away from this movie realizing how tremendously blessed (read: spoiled) we are in the United States, having been given a heart-rending reminder of the persecution so many people endured during WWII.

Spiritual Content: A few Jews find hope in the God of their forefathers. However, it is disappointing to hear so many of them questioning God's goodness and provision. For example, Frankfurter responds to "Jews put their trust in God" by saying, "That line of reasoning hasn't gotten us very far." Elsewhere, he assesses their plight and indicates that he thinks God did a poor job of leading his people out of bondage if it was only to land them in concentration camps. Jakob, who doesn't observe Jewish Sabbath, states, "I believe we are the chosen people, but I wish the Almighty had chosen somebody else." Kowalski flippantly questions if God is really "up there." In a back room, Frankfurter's wife is shown briefly leading a seance of sorts and talking to spirits (I'm not Jewish, but it seemed more occult than kosher). All of this wouldn't have been so upsetting had the filmmakers balanced momentary crises of confidence in God with occasions of deeply felt faith. Positive references to God and his ability to deliver His people are virtually non-existent.

Sexual Content: An engaged couple shares a bed, though any sex would have to be inferred.

Violent Content: Several Polish Jews are shot by Nazi soldiers (we learn that Jakob's wife met a similar fate). Four are shown hanging from gallows in a vacant courtyard. A cart wheels through the ghetto streets, collecting dead bodies. Gestapo officers beat people with clubs. A man hangs himself. Another commits suicide by swallowing a pill rather than betray his people or help the Germans. Jakob is tortured for information by being held underwater and beaten bloody.

Crude or Profane Language: One "d--n" and two uses of "bastard." That's it.

Drug and Alcohol Content: Jews break out a bottle of something alcoholic to celebrate the election of Jakob as their leader. Men smoke cigarettes. A German officer drinks wine.

Summary: This alternately playful and despairing treatment of the Holocaust will inevitably invite comparison to Roberto Benigni's celebrated Life Is Beautiful. That's a tough act to follow. But taken on its own terms, Jakob the Liar is a solid, thoughtful tale built around likable characters in dire straits. Robin Williams is terrific as Jakob, and smart supporting players provide an engaging combination of pathos and comic relief. The movie deserves its PG-13 rating due to a gritty portrayal of Nazi oppression including violence that, while not gratuitous, is still disturbing. But parents and older teens will find much to talk about. Freedom. Hope. Courage. Truth. Just don't expect Williams and company to sugar-coat this tragic period in history by wrapping things up with a Hollywood "happily ever after." Rather than run the risk of trivializing material that should make audiences both contemplative and uncomfortable, the filmmakers chose to show respect for those who endured hellish persecution. If only we could have seen a little more reverence toward the loving God who was not idle in the midst of it all, but was a source of strength for many Jews.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews




Readability Age Range



Robin Williams as Jakob Heym; Alan Arkin as Frankfurter; Armin Mueller-Stahl as Dr. Kirschbaum; Liev Schreiber as Mischa; Bob Balaban as barber Kowalski; Hannah Taylor Gordon as Lina


Peter Kassovitz ( )


Columbia Pictures



Record Label



In Theaters

On Video

Year Published



Bob Smithouser

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!