Based on the beloved bestselling book, THE BOOK THIEF tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a new family in World War II Germany.
I read/listened to the audio of The Book Thief earlier this year partly because of the movie coming out and partly because I kind of felt out of the loop. This was a book that EVERYONE talks about and I hadn’t read it, so I did. I enjoyed it, it was a good story told from a different point of view, Death is our narrator, but the kind of fell flat for me, could never really put my finger on it, but I was still SUPER excited for the movie because I knew it could be visually amazing and I thought the story would transition well from book to movie, and oh was I was I right, the movie is amazing!
The Book Thief is one of those movies that did everything right in regards to capturing the look, feel and atmosphere of the book and the world of the book. The casting was spot on, ROGER ALLAM, gave the perfect voice to Death, the story’s narrator, and SOPHIE NÉLISSE as Liesel, GEOFFREY RUSH as Hans, and EMILY WATSON as Rosa, were perfect choices for the stories other main characters. They captured the story’s humor, gravity, and heart and really drive the story forward.
Beyond the casting, the over all feel of the movie is what brought me in. The stunning visuals and the music by the always fabulous John Williams (click HERE to check out the score), brought the world of 1939 Germany to life and really set the emotional tone for the movie. These two things are what brought an good written story to an amazing story for me. I was drawn in to the movie in a way that I wasn’t with the book. I cried and laughed and I really felt for these characters and what they were going through. And I think it showed on some level, because it was a visual, how people just try to survive in situations like those that were going on in Germany during WWII. This is something that I think the book is also trying to show, but because you can see the looks on people’s faces as they know what they are witnessing is wrong on some level but there’s nothing they can do without putting themselves and their family in danger, the message is a little more impactful.
I only had two small issues with the movie, one, I wanted more of Death. He’s such a big presence in the book and I wanted his narration a bit more in the movie. And the second was with Rudy’s character. Because of the time span of the story, Rudy and Liesel age a couple of years. They did a really good job aging up Sophie Nelisse with clothes and different hair stiles, but it’s harder to do that on a boy I think, so NICO LIERSCH, who plays Rudy, has kind of a similar look from start to finish physically. They do as much as they can to put him in age appropriate clothes to show the passing of time, but it fell a little flat for me. But Nico does do a great job capturing the character of Rudy and plays off of Sophie very well.
I think this is a must see movie! It’s not appropriate for younger readers/viewers, the subject of death could be a bit much for some, but I think it’s perfect for older teens. It’s a great discussion movie and would also work great in classrooms to talk about WWII on many different levels. I hope you all go see it, this Holiday season.