Is there ever a good time to watch Schindler's List?


Okay, so the title is a little bit of a grabber, but the question is a serious one. I've seen parts of Schindler's List over the years -- I remember that it was allowed to run uncensored on network television, and had a special sponsor (I think it might have been Ford) that allowed for little "breaks" rather than typical commercials, to show the appropriate level of seriousness for the subject matter. Anyway, I've never seen the entire film from start to finish in one sitting.

My lady friend and I have a copy, and naturally would like to see it. We've wanted to for some time, actually, but as the weeks become months, we realize we're never in the mood for what figures to be a very sober, depressing film...and a very long one, at that. We know we wouldn't feel comfortable eating during it (eating while watching movies at home is one of our most common pastimes), and that we probably wouldn't want to do a whole lot immediately afterwards, which turns the viewing -- whenever it happens -- into a fairly major commitment. And all for something that's bound to make us feel terrible.

I image there must be others who feel this way. So what do we do with movies that are not so much enjoyable, but that feel "necessary"? We all know they have value, but it seems impossible to partition the film's cinematic value, and any benefits great films bestow on the viewer, and the subject matter, which would seem to overwhelm these things.

Put another way: is it possible to enjoy these kinds of films, or are they not really films at all, but a necessary italicizing of certain historical events?

And, more tangibly helpful: when and how did you see the film, and how did it effect you during and immediately after? I'm thinking more of the non-cinematic ways in which it influenced you, rather than thoughts on the quality of the film itself.

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I'll watch Schindler's List and get back to you.
There's always a chance that a movie will make you feel bad. However, I won't keep myself from watching them. If a movie can have that kind of an impact on me, I think it deserves to be watched.
The Freedom Roads

Jeez Yoda just watch it! drink water and eat dry bread if you need to, and just thank god you weren't in the ghetto in Kracow in 1939.

Well, I wasn't actually asking for advice on when to watch it, or for any "tricks" to watching it. Obviously you just sit down and watch it. This is why I branched off and included questions about disturbing films, and the artistic value of films whose historical content overwhelm them.

I'm intrigued by films that are deemed important and necessary, but can be difficult or even upsetting to watch. It's interesting to me that we almost hate the process, but still consider it good for us, or important to do, and Schindler's List would seem to be a particularly good example of this, so I thought it could make for some interesting discussion.

If you don't want to do anything after watching it, try to plan watching it right before you go to bed. So that as soon as you finish watching it, you can just go to bed. You might get sleepy while watching the movie, though, so my best thing that I can suggest is maybe to try and watch more of an upbeat movie after. Schindler's List is pretty amazing, though, so I'd say that you at least try to watch it all the way through, Yoda.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
You've pretty much explained why it's been difficult for you to get around to watching the film: it's too depressing, too heavy, too important, and generally appears to be the opposite of fun. I also know people who say that they'll never watch it again for the same reasons. However, Schindler's List is just another movie, so if you think of it more as a MOVIE and less as a film (or a chore), you'll be giving the flick and yourself more of a chance to "enjoy" it.

People watch films for many reasons, but in general, they are attracted to those with a strong story, and even though it takes a bit for Schindler's List to introduce its characters, their motivations and their environment, it tells a crackling story, with more suspense and intensity than almost any film I can think of. It's also packed with art and great performances, and the thing to remember is that for all the atrocities on screen, it really is a beautiful, uplifting film. In fact, I would consider the story and imagery depicted in the film to be something almost Biblical in its version of one of Spielberg's favorite themes, good vs. evil. Yes, it can be overwhelming and perhaps extreme, and maybe it's meant to teach a lesson, but it's often also poetic, lowkey and open to interpretation. I find the filmmaking to be far more exhilarating than depressing, and even if I do relate to the characters (yes, all of them), I never feel as if I'm suffering by watching the movie and I don't feel depressed by it either. Sure, I'm emotionally drained, but good movies can leave you that way without depressing you.

As far as a personal anecdote about my first experience with the movie, my family and I watched it at the theatre on December 26, 1993. I had already bought the tickets when we received a phone call from Brenda's mom telling us that Brenda's nephew's wife was at the UCLA Medical Center, apparently in labor two months prematurely. There was nothing we could really do, so we went to the movie. Driving home, I was basically silent but Brenda cried the entire time. Afterward, we called to see if Zachary had been born yet, but no he wasn't born until later that night. The next day, we went to visit him and the family, and Boy, he sure was tiny (he's over six feet tall now). The next day, I went back and watched Schindler's List again, and it was much clearer to me what was going on the entire time and much more powerful and meaningful. Maybe that's part of the film's lesson: out of the midst of death arises life and vice versa.

Since my school district showed the film to high school students (with parental permission), I've presented the film several times in that connection, and I've watched it at home a few times, so I'm up to about 15 complete viewings now. It never depresses me, but I guess if it did, I'd put on the Marx Bros. after. Duck Soup is also about the insanity of war and hate. I think it's even OK to eat food during Duck Soup. Of course, if you really want to know the perfect day to watch Schindler's List, you could do it on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). You have to fast that day anyway...
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I ended up having to watch this in English in my last year of high school, and I do not remember finding it depressing or even feeling anything, not even the sense of feeling numb when you're so overwhelmed emotionally by what you're watching.

But that's just me.
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It seems boring and long, but every time I watch it I get sucked in and it feels like an hour instead of 3. That may not be the case for you, but that's how it is for me.

And yeah, I feel terrible afterward. The only time I've watched it at school was in 11th grade U.S. History, and when it was over I couldn't speak to anyone.

I would say if you're not a fan of depressing movies , avoid this one. Many of my favorites are depressing , sad , bleak films - I get a lot of enjoyment out of them though for their captivating narratives , emotional grip , and amazing cinematic structure. Though I can appreciate the fact your just not in the mood for it - maybe your just looking for an enjoyable feel-good film or an escapist action thriller , Schindler's List is a horror/drama that is trying to capture historical events with as much gritty realism it can.

You also mention eating during the movie , I just realized today that I can pretty much eat anything no matter what I'm looking at - when I ate dinner during the hardcore weapons match in The Wrestler. If you can't stomach a lot of brutal violence I'd also sit this one out.

As usual, Mark summed up my feelings towards this film quite well. I think I've mentioned before that I don't "love" Schindler's List because it is a tough subject to swallow. And I'll say it again, I don't know if I will ever be able to love a movie like this. Yes, it is very good. Very powerful and an absolute must see. So, is there ever a good time to watch it? Yes, at about 5:00 pm tomorrow then afterwords you and the 'special lady friend' will have plenty of time to unwind and discuss the film.

It is a film that holds up very well to repeated viewings and I think worth seeing more than once. There are movies out there that are so good that after awhile you no longer remember that you even are watching a movie. I believe this is one of those films. The performances in this movie are incredible to say the very least.

Ralph Fiennes gives a performance that he may spend the rest of his life chasing the rainbow around trying to do again. Not to say he hasn't had some other great performance since then, he's a very good actor in my opinion as anyone that enjoyed last years In Bruges can attest to. I just think Fiennes portrayal of the evil and terrible Nazi was one for the ages. Cliche? Maybe, doesn't mean it isn't true.

And I know much has been made and said about the end of the film. Aparently there is a pretty large contingent of people out there that believe Speilberg made the ending that way in order in ensure himself of an Oscar. I find that assertion not only ridiculous but terribly shortsighted. Not being a Jew myself I'm not even going to bother to try and give an opinion as to why he ended the film the way he did other than to say that after that entire ordeal it just felt right, didn't it?
We are both the source of the problem and the solution, yet we do not see ourselves in this light...

I don't remember much of the movie. Since last I saw it was in English class. Its a powerful movie. The shower scene gets to me. I hope you all know what I'm talking about!!
Arnie Cunningham - All of this because some drunk ran over that sh*tter Welch?

Arnie Cunningham- Right up the little tramps @ss!

I also want to point out that the final scene with Liam Neeson is the best acting that I've ever seen.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The ending of the film may not be unique in film history, but it's pretty close if it isn't. The actual survivors are shown, often with the actors who played them in the film, as they pay tribute to Schindler. He "saved" over 1100 Jews, and at the time of the film's release, there were over 6000 people living from those 1100 saved. The scene of Schindler's (Neeson's) shadow placing roses on the grave is awesome, as are the closing credits which take place over a wet road made out of Jewish headstones. This is basically the scene which caused Brenda to cry all the way home from the movie.

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The last scene is the scene that makes me cry. It's the point where everything I just watch hits me. The survivors paying tribute to Schindler also helps the film feel whole, to me.

The Elected Movie Eliminator
Many criticise Schindler's List as a "Hollywood" movie that doesn't correctly portrait the events of the Holocaust. Me, I haven't seen it yet, but you do have to be in the correct mood to watch it. Well, I rented the DVD and started watching it (obviously not in the correct mode) and I got very bored of it. So your mood does really depend on the enjoyment of the movie.
A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.
Stanley Kubrick

ok not being flippant now (sorry Yoda!), there's plenty of films that are hard to watch cos of their subject matter. A fair amount of people avoid that type of film cos they just want films to be entertainment - fair enough, who can blame them, plenty of people have depressing things going on in their own lives without paying to look at a dramatisation of other peoples suffering.

However, sometimes, watching a serious film can open your mind to things you've never thought of, or make you appreciate what you have - your freedom, your family, your health even your life. They can make you see what it is like to live in different, maybe troubled parts of the world in a much more understandable way than the tv news or documentary can. You can empathise with characters in films, people who may be your age, or like your mum or dad, or going through things that are troubling you.

So from a very selfish pint of view those films can be catarthic - plenty of times I've felt that and it's made me see I'm not the only person in the world to have those problems or be in that situation. The best films can do this for you, and that's why I love films like this so much.

Of course you can never believe in all the facts as presented in a film based on history, but lots of interesting reading can be done around the film, much easier now we've got the internet to find out different opinions.

As for Schindlers List, yes WW2 had terrible atrocities that we should never forget and it is terribly upsetting to watch the film, but let's it remind you rather of all the human beings who helped, shielded, covered, fed and cared for total strangers. Not everyone did it on the scale of Oskar Schindler, but eventually cos of the goodness of the majority of human beings, right prevailed against wrong and you could watch Schindlers List with that point of view huh?

\m/ Fade To Black \m/
I think Schindlers List is a great movie and I think everyone should watch it at least once. It is a very powerful movie and when my son is old enough I will be showing him the film as it is history and I dont want the next generations to forget the terrible things that happened, here is one of the best scenes in the movie,

Oskar Schindler: I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don't know. If I'd just... I could have got more.
Itzhak Stern: Oskar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.
Oskar Schindler: If I'd made more money... I threw away so much money. You have no idea. If I'd just...
Itzhak Stern: There will be generations because of what you did.
Oskar Schindler: I didn't do enough!
Itzhak Stern: You did so much.
[Schindler looks at his car]
Oskar Schindler: This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people.
[removing Nazi pin from lapel]
Oskar Schindler: This pin. Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would have given me two for it, at least one. One more person. A person, Stern. For this.
Oskar Schindler: I could have gotten one more person... and I didn't! And I... I didn't!
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Every once in a blue moon, I'm also game for seeing a movie about a part of history or a historical event(s) that concerns me, so, when I saw the film Schindler's List with my brother and a longtime friend of mine when it first came out, that was as good a time as any to see this movie. Also, I think that Schindler's List was a very, very good film and yet quite disturbing. It's a good film to see for this reason, too, especially since there are lots and lots of people out in the world, particularly the United States, who really need to be shaken up a bit.
"It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men." -- Samuel Adams (1722-1803)