The Book Thief

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From the first moment the narrator began to speak, I was completely and utterly entranced by this absolutely sublime movie. The narrator, for those of you who don’t already know, is Death, a force which is not good or evil, but simply is. The character reminded me very strongly of the Death in Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, which is a high compliment. I have not read the book upon which this movie is based, but will remedy that shortly. This film is amazingly beautiful. Set in World War II Germany, young Liesel is adopted by new parents, played by Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. It is the story of good people trying to do the right thing in amidst the Third Reich, which is no small thing. It is also a story about the love of the written word. There is just enough humor sprinkled throughout to nicely counterbalance the horror of the setting, which makes the movie a pleasure to watch. This is not to say that it sugarcoats the realities of World War II and the Holocaust, but there are periodic bits of comedy which allow you to laugh, release the pent up pressure thus far, and continue on refreshed. It actually makes the story and the characters seem that much more real, as life isn’t all bad or all good but a mixed bag.

In the trailer, Geoffrey Rush’s character Hans Hubermann first greets Liesel by saying “Your Majesty”.  I inferred from it that she was some sort of royal in hiding, but he was really just trying to treat her nicely, like a father calling his little girl ‘Princess’.  Emily Watson, playing Rosa Hubermann, isn’t the milk-and-cookies kind of mother figure, but her portrayal of a complex character is superb.  I particularly liked Liesel’s best friend and neighbor Rudy Steiner (Nico Liersch), a fair-haired scamp full of bravado but with a heart of gold.  Things really get interesting when the Hubermanns hide a young Jew Max Vandenburg (Ben Schnetzer) from the Nazis.  This is a quiet, thoughtful and very insightful movie that made me think of The King’s Speech (also starring Geoffrey Rush), but a story from the other side of the same war. The film has the feel of a fable or dark fairy tale, a dreamy sort of look at things through the eyes of a child and framed by philosophical peculiarities from Death’s point of view. I laughed, cried, and was utterly swept up as the narrative unfolded and in the end, felt uplifted in a way I cannot capture in words. – BETHANY

For more on this extraordinary film, visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0816442/?ref_=nv_sr_1

The Nazis burning offensive books.

Liesel makes her move.

Liesel and Rudy

(image courtesy of http://www.allisonsbookmarks.com)

Why are rallies for despicable causes always held at night by torchlight?

One of the books Liesel reads to Max is actually The Book Thief itself.

Frau Hubermann (Emily Watson) in the bomb shelter with Liesel and Rudy.

The trailer for The Book Thief:

Photos courtesy of Fox 2000 Pictures, Sunswept Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, The Blair Partnership, Studio Babelsberg, Ingenious Media and 20th Century Fox

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