The Book Thief Film Review

Film: The Book Thief

Directed by: Brian Percival

Release date: 27/11/2013

Starring: Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Nico Liersch, Ben Schnetzer, Oliver Stokowski, Barbara Auer

Adapted from: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)

Hey guys! So, I know I have been talking about The Book Thief a lot and if you’re not a fan then you can rest assured this will be the last post. It is just a story that I have found so inspiring and interesting that, naturally, it has featured a lot on my blog.

I got the film on DVD and, having watched it last night, I wanted to share my thoughts on the adaptation of the story, which is depicted so beautifully in the book.

I really enjoyed watching the film and there are bits about it that I think are perfect, but there are also bits I think are slightly disappointing. To start, I want to say that I think the casting is absolutely perfect. Sophie Nelisse fits the role of Liesel Meminger so well. I like the way Nelisse fully portrays the development of Liesel as a character, from being very reserved and angry at the start, to learning to love her new family, to facing the fears and struggles of the war at the end.

Rail

I think the beginning of the story is portrayed very well and I could easily draw comparisons to what I pictured in my mind as I read the book. The moment she sees her brother’s eyes staring wide, the stealing of the first book at the grave and her arrival on Himmel Street are all as I imagined.

Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson are also perfect. Rush as Liesel’s kind and caring papa, with a heart of gold and Watson as her mama, with the same heart of gold, but perhaps a harsher exterior at first. The actor’s performances are outstanding, particularly the way Watson steadily reveals her softer side and the way Rush bounds around the basement with a bucket on his head as the adorable Hans Huberman who calls Liesel ‘your majesty.’

Nico Liersch as Rudy Steiner is spot-on with his amounts of cheeky-ness and cuteness. As an audience, we fall in love with him and root for him as a character. He is so innocent and his loyalty and love for Liesel is so endearing and I think it is portrayed so brilliantly in the film. An aspect of the book which they definitely captured to a ‘T.’

I love the light-hearted moments of the film, for example, when Max and Liesel are doing impressions or when they decide to all help build a snowman in the basement. I just think those scenes are so brilliant and I couldn’t help but smile as I watched them. The characters in this story are so lovable and the things they do are heart-warming and moving, as are their relationships between each other. I think Rosa is actually a really comical character, the way she has little one-liners is so brilliant, like when she asks what they will do when the snowman melts.

Snow

I know a film cannot include all the details of the books but I think there are two parts of the book that aren’t included which I would have liked to see. The first is the bit where Liesel sees Max in the crowd of marching Jews because it is such a powerful moment of devastating realisation; that Max has been found and he is now facing such cruel and unfair treatment. The second is the side storyline about Frau Holtzapfel and her son’s suicide. But, I know, you can’t have it all.

I think the moment when Liesel sits beside Rudy as he dies is so emotionally powerful, however I am a little disappointed with the way they portrayed her reaction to the deaths of Hans and Rosa. I expected more in the moment when she sees Hans lying on the street, particularly since the actor’s all portray their characters so wonderfully.

Book

And finally, I have to mention the way the narrator is represented. I am a little undecided about this one. When he first starting narrating the opening of the film I felt sure I didn’t like the way death was being represented. My initial thought was that the voice of death didn’t sound the way I imagined it. For some reason I did imagine it to be a male voice, but maybe hearing a real persons voice narrating it just made it seem a bit strange. But as the film continued it grew on me. It is kind of similar to how I heard it in my head, but it think it was just different to hear it alone as a real man’s voice. Anyway, I still think the narration of this story is so gripping and chilling.

So, on the whole I really like the film and it is a really good adaptation of the books, particularly in terms of characters. I just love some of the details in the book which made the story just that bit more powerful in written form. But, if you read the books, definitely be sure to check out the film. It really did come to life as I saw it in my head, which is a sign of a great adaptation.

I am going to give this film 4/5.

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2 thoughts on “The Book Thief Film Review

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