I originally posted this on my other blog, “The Underground Girls”, but thought I would share it here as well.
I will admit I didn’t read this book, The Book Thief, despite the fact it was a huge best-seller and critically acclaimed. I just didn’t have time which is why I went to see the movie. I was really surprised by how much I liked the movie and I have to say if you are looking for an interesting, not so hyped movie to see this holiday season you might consider this one.
The story is of a young girl who at the beginning of the story meets tragedy upon tragedy. Her mother is forced to give her up so she can flee because she is a Communist in Nazi Germany and her little brother dies along the way to be handed over. Her new family is anything but the dream home life and the story starts before WWII and spans the war. Basically, you see events unfold through a German teenager’s eyes. I won’t say much more as not to spoil anything.
However, I will say the cast is brilliant, and the script is really good. Not having read the book, I wasn’t prepared for the story (a bit of a spoiler I guess) being told from Death’s point of view. He is the narrator which puts a real twist on the story.
Like I said the cast was awesome. The two vets, Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson are really good and spice up the story. Seriously, Geoffrey Rush, if you look at his body of work is one of the top five actors of our generation I think. Just one of those guys who doesn’t live for the limelight.
Sophie Nelisse is perfect in the lead role and does a really good job of showing her character’s maturing as the story progresses. Nico Liersch is really good as her best friend Rudy.
One thing that also surprised me was the musical score. It was well done but I was caught off guard when the credits rolled to see it was a John Williams piece. It had a different feel to it than many of his musical scores but was earmarked by his mastery.
Some critics have dissed the movie because it wasn’t hard enough on the Nazi’s but I think they forget the story is seen through one teen’s eyes from one neighborhood in one town. Not everything has to be a propaganda piece and in fact I will argue the best propaganda is the truth.
It is representative of a growing trend though in which we are seeing more books, movies, music about this period in which the story is putting a human face on both sides. It is easy to forget that in even in war there are very real human motivations in play on both sides for good and bad.
Like I said, if you are searching out a movie off the beaten track this holiday season then you might give this a view.