For the first time in a while, I find myself not knowing how I feel about a movie. Having not heard a word about it, I recently watched The Book Thief. This adaptation of the novel by Markus Zusak told the story of a girl living in Nazi Germany during World War II. After going through the pain of losing her younger brother, main character Liesel goes to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann played by Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. Later, when Liesel goes to school, we find out that she is illiterate, and soon learns to read from both Hans and a Jewish man that the family is hiding in the basement. The name “Book Thief” comes Liesel starts stealing (she calls it borrowing) books as the town she lived in mandated that books should not be read in order to keep the people pure.
Now this movie is not the typical movie that most Americans are used to. Especially now that we are in the age of huge blockbusters with EXPLOSIONS and special effects. There isn’t much action and the plot can be hard to decipher if you’re not paying careful attention. However, the movie does a great job with character development. Liesel starts off as a very reserved girl that quickly decides that she wants to run away. This could be in part to how mean her new mama (Emily Watson) is. Towards the end of the movie, Liesel grows to love the people that are involved in her life and uses her new found passion of reading to help others. Geoffrey Rush was nothing short of amazing. He continues to show that he is such a great actor. Rush is great in Pirates of the Caribbean and The King’s Speech (if you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it). In this movie, Rush plays the fun, loving dad that really makes the audience come to love his character.
I found it very interesting that the movie is narrated by Death itself. Death finds himself contemplating what it really means to live and says that Liesel has definitely lived while many others have not really lived. This is what I found to be a major theme in this movie. Despite all the trials that Lielsel went through, she still lived a full life, impacting many people along the way.
The bottom line: I know I mentioned earlier that I didn’t know how I felt about this movie, however, as I write this review I find myself liking it more and more. My rating for this movie is a 6.5/10. I feel that anyone who has an appreciation for a well-made movie with good acting will appreciate this movie. On the other hand, this is an historical fiction, if you appreciate history, you may find yourself liking this movie as well.