The Book Thief | Kilburnlad | Film | Reviews

The Book Thief

We saw The Book Thief yesterday.

I hadn't checked any reviews before going, which as it turned out was probably fortuitous as some were not good. I say fortuitous as I liked this film, and it would have been a pity if I hadn't have gone because of unfavourable reviews.

Sophie Nélisse who played the principal character, Leisel, was, to my mind, exceptional, as were Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson who played her adoptive parents, and Nico Liersch who plays Leisel's friend Rudy. The depiction of how children were indoctrinated into the Nazi system, and the treatment of jews, communists and others who didn't meet the Nazi ideal, serve as a reminder of what can happen when a country turns against those who it believes are detrimental to society. Something that we should perhaps be aware of today as right wing diatribe seeks to demonise peoples from other countries. The poverty of the German people, as depicted, was, I suppose, part of the reason why the Nazis were able to gain support, by offering a better Germany, albeit at the expense of virtually everybody else.

The film was to some extent sanitised, and I think this was part of the criticism. Terrible things were happening, but we were spared graphic images. Instead the film concentrated more on the good things that were going on.

The film is narrated by Death, another thing that upset a few of the critics, but again it worked for me. Hitler certainly kept Death busy.

We saw The Monument Men earlier in the week, which was good, being based on a true story, but for me it was over dramatised and the characters therefore seemed less real than in the far more human story of The Book Thief.


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