Daniel’s Review (15/01/2014):
For this review, I have asked fellow Everything Film reviewer TJ to help me out in this review. She will provide you the plot summary and historical background to the movie, while I describe the movie itself.
‘The Book Thief’ is based on the novel with the same name published in 2005. I for one have never heard of the book before, but was pleasantly surprised by how great this movie actually was, and I’m now asking myself that I should give the book a read to see if it follows closely and is faithful to the 2005 novel of the same name.
I was shocked of how much I liked this movie, and I think this needs to be addressed, it is much underrated on Rotten Tomatoes currently scoring it with a mixed 50%, which is way too low for this movie. This is where I completely disagree with the critics as it is engaging and a highly emotional motion picture that anyone can instantly be entertained, enjoyed and also learn something from this story.
Here’s reviewer TJ on the historical setting and plot summary of the story of ‘The Book Thief’.
‘The Book Thief’ is a story about a young girl named Liesel who and her little brother Werner are on a train to their foster parents during the brink of WW2 and the rise of Hitler and the holocaust in Germany. A person accidently drops a book and Liesel therefore takes it. When Liesel arrives at the foster home she is quite afraid and shy, but quickly bonds with her foster father Han’s. Han’s is shocked that Liesel doesn’t know how to read and is quick to teach her along with reading the first book. Liesel meets and befriends a neighbourhood boy who is pretty much the ‘perfect race’ Hitler wanted, with the blonde hair, blue eyes, his name is Rudy. Rudy is very athletic and play football in the street with the other neighbours and constantly pesters Liesel to kiss him. Meanwhile Germany is becoming very serious and unsafe with War escalating, food and work shortages.
‘The Book Thief’ works well because of it’s superb acting performances. Everyone in this movie does an incredible job.
The script is really good with some comedic moments and very heavy drama incorporated into the script. The movie is also very heartfelt and very emotional. I’ll be honest, my eyes started to get watery.
‘The Book Thief’ is a great family movie, that any age can enjoy and love, it has an almost timeless feel to it that this film could have been made at any decade.
The score was also amazing as it balanced its emotional and comedic moments of the movie very well.
It has great acting, great writing and very emotional with some comedic moments and jokes thrown in there to be an ultimate and sad movie going experience of the summer.
If I may add, bring some tissues.
Nic’s Review (28/01/2014):
‘The Book Thief’ is one of my favourite novels of all time and after the recent disappointment that was ‘Ender’s Game’, scepticism hampered my excitement for a film that might have completely ruined my memory of the book.
Instead, ‘The Book Thief’ is a charming film that stands very well on its own and manages to find the balance between keeping the essence of the book and not going so overboard with detail that the pacing becomes skewed.
In fact, it’s the pacing that I give the film the most credit for. The novel is huge, so managing to keep or tweak most of the important moments without the overall film feeling rushed is astonishing. Also, those bits that are changed or omitted have been done so for a reason. In the case of ‘The Book Thief’ it’s the changes that satisfy the most.
The deep themes and compelling characters are maintained, while most of the storytelling is achieved through cinematic means: the acting, the cinematography, the music, all brilliant. This isn’t a film that’s made to be a good adaptation, it’s made to be a good film.
On the other hand, some parts of the novel, such as the narration by Death, are kept when they aren’t really necessary. And unfortunately my one major criticism is with the ending which could nowhere near capture the emotion of the novel, but again, taken as a film and not an adaptation, it likely fits with the tone of the rest of the film.
In the end, I enjoyed ‘The Book Thief’. As always, the novel is still the richer experience, but the film is charming enough on its own to be worth a look and a refreshing surprise after the last book-to-film I saw.