January 25, 2014

the book thief {movie review}

I know, I know, this post is a little late in coming, this movie has been out for a while, and for goodness sakes, as a journalist, I should know news has to be timely!  But, I didn't have a chance to see this film until last night.  And it's my blog.  So.
Based on the best-selling book by Markus Zusak, The Book Thief is the story of Liesel Memminger (Sophie Nelisse), an audacious young girl sent to live with foster parents Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa (Emily Watson) Hubermann in Molching, Germany, shortly before the start of the second World War.  After her timid entrance "to a street nicknamed 'Heaven,'" she quickly begins changing the lives and hearts of all who know her.  Liesel has a deep love of words and books, but does not know how to read, so Hans, who turns out to be a very kind and fatherly man, helps her learn.  This love is only deepened by Max (Ben Schnetzer), a young Jew hidden in the basement of this German family in fulfillment of Hans' long-ago promise to help him if there ever was a need.

Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 131 minutes

What I Loved

This was really a terrific movie, and I admit I love it partly because I love the book.  (Markus Zusak, you brilliant man.)  It had a wonderful cast, with whom the chemistry was just right, and a wholesome combination of humor as well as the suspense and gravity of Nazi Germany.  There was so much evil, sorrow, and death on both sides of World War II, and The Book Thief was true to that, without making the visuals too graphic, or ignoring the beauty that still managed to blossom in the middle of it all.  Even in the most heinous of times, there are still those who pour themselves out for others.  As Liesel said, "maybe we are just being people.  That's what people do."

I love Liesel's adoptive parents.  True, Hans and Rosa agree to care for Liesel because of the financial assistance given them by the government, but he does whatever a father would do to welcome and love her.  He is gentle, and knows how to teach the important lessons of life without being overbearing, especially the fact that "a person is only as good as their word."

I love the romance between Liesel and her young friend, Rudy Steiner - innocent and sweet - and the overall cleanliness of the movie.

I love a person who can appreciate the written word.  "Words are life, Liesel," says Max, melting my heart because that's one of my favorite quotes.  Ever.

I liked the soundtrack very much, as well.

I like the wonderful and haunting fact that the entire story is narrated by Death.  "I make it a policy to avoid the living," he says.  But there was something about our Liesel that caught his eye... and he cared.  I ended up caring, too - deeply.  Methinks you will, too.

There are so many GOOD things about this movie I'm forcing myself to stop here before I spill it all.

What I Didn't Like So Much 

Like any film rendition of a book, there were a few inconsistencies, but I was willing to look past them because it's usually quite difficult to fit all of the details into a movie.

The Book Thief is a very clean film, barring a few uses of God's name in vain, and insults toward Liesel on the part of one particularly unpleasant young individual in Molching, a schoolmate of Liesel and Rudy.

I'm very happy to say there were very few things I didn't appreciate in this movie.  Yay!

Final Thoughts

In case you couldn't tell already, I'm a huge fan of this film, and would definitely recommend it.

I give it a regrettable four and a half stars out of five, and only because of the mild language.

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10 comments :

  1. Oh, goody. *claps hands* I'm a huge fan of the book. Can't wait to see this. :) Thanks for the review (and isn't the soundtrack lovely?).

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    1. Kindred spirits. ;) You are welcome, mellon! Yes! Williams is the man.

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  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the movie. I've read the books and I am keen to watch the movie too.

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  3. "I like the wonderful and haunting fact that the entire story is narrated by Death. 'I make it a policy to avoid the living,' he says. But there was something about our Liesel that caught his eye... and he cared." <-- how interesting! I never thought of a book being written from the perspective of Death -- for whatever reason, that seems pretty cool.

    This movie sounds great!!

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  4. The book was such an emotional read; I can't wait to watch the movie. Aand, voted for you! :)

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    1. Thanks for the vote, dear! The movie was no less emotional - hah!

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  5. I've been wanting to see this movie, but the feeling is even stronger now. But I think I really need to read the book!!!

    Thanks for the review!

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    1. I think you should read the book first - just an unwanted opinion. ;) Both are wonderful, but the movie is so much better with the book.

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