I saw The Book Thief over this past weekend, my sister thought that I would like it. I think that it was a book that got passed around amongst my sisters and mother. There might be some spoilers below so you know the deal. This film is a World War II film that really isn’t about the war or anything like that it is ancillary at best. The film is based on the book and like many adaptations things have to be simplified.
The story is about a girl, Liesel, who is dumped by her mother who has been taken/ fleeing the nation (depending on version) upon Hans and Rosa to raise her. Hans and Rosa’s neighbor, Rudy, is intrigued by this new girl in town and wants to get a kiss from her. Liesel goes to school and doesn’t know how to read or write so Hans teaches her. They participate in a book burning and Liesel steals a book after this is over, but is seen by the mayor’s wife. Rosa does the laundry for the mayor so one day Liesel is sent with to deliver it and is welcomed into a large library. Around this time a Jew, Max, comes to live with the family as Max’s father saved Hans’ life during World War I. Max is hidden in the basement and can only come out during an air raid.
The story is nice and all but I really didn’t like how they had everything lined up with an event from history Max comes because of Kristallnacht and there is no other reason, sure that was a big turning point but wouldn’t individuals who didn’t own stores not be as effected by this event as those that did. I like the idea that Death is the narrator of the story and we watch it’s long relationship with Liesel over the couple of years that the book covers it is an interesting choice. I also really didn’t like the character of Rudy he came off as too needy and really didn’t add much to the overall plot. There were a couple of funny moments, but all it all it had the overall tone of World War II.
My biggest problem with the film is that there was nothing at stake, sure Liesel liked books and stole them for a while but if the story didn’t happen that same event would have a family would have hidden a Jew in the basement and then the Jew would leave or the family would get caught and everyone would wind up in a camp somewhere. In conclusion if you read the book and enjoyed it you are bound to like the movie. If on the other hand you are only coming into the film with wanting a World War II story you are in luck as well as you might like it in the long run then again you might not care about the characters at all.