This is the UK film poster, and I saw it on the 28th February (it came out on the 26th in England.)
What's going on?
The Book Thief is narrated by Death, and follows a young girl named Liesel Meminger who is sent to live with Rosa and Hans Hubermann alone after her brother dies as they are traveling across the country. Liesel makes friends with Rudy, a young boy who lives next door to the Hubermanns. Liesel starts to settle into life with the Hubermanns,; however, more chaos arrives in the form of Max, a young Jew who escaped the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) with a set of false documents and not a lot more and seeks refuge with Hans Hubermann, who knew Max's father. Max hides in the Hubermanns basement for a while as Germany becomes more and more unstable and dangerous. Men go off to fight and return from the front-line but, as the Third Reich gets stronger and the War nears its end, ultimately no one can completely escape the horrors of war or the devastation of the bombs.
So how was it?
I don't know whether I'm just a complete, emotional sap when it comes to, well anything really, but the tears were pouring pretty much every second from when Liesel's brother died - and that was the very first thing to happen! But it wasn't just me. There were plenty of times when the rest of the audience was in tears too. I thought the film was actually pretty good. There was a nice balance between the lighthearted, "child" moments that Liesel and Rudy share, and the adult themes that neither of them quite understand but both know are bad.
One thing I wasn't so impressed by was Death as a narrator/commentator. I understand it must be very hard to use Death exactly as it is in the book - an observer, narrating and commenting on events in an ironic sort of manner - but in the film Death seemed to just be a simple narrator to take the audience into each new setting or event. Also, although the film was emotional enough (did I mention I was severely dehydrated because of the amount of tears shed?) it lacked the depth of the book. The whole film was, not childish, but certainly not descriptive and I can't help but feel that it didn't do important events in history (such as the Kristallnacht) justice.
The Book Thief was a good film, one I very much enjoyed. Although I was slightly disappointed by the lack of depth in it, I still felt attached enough to the characters and plot to be completely distraught at several parts. Also, the acting was so impressive, especially Sophie Nelisse (Liesel), and I found I could really connect with the characters. Every actor/actress made their character seem so real, and they all had great screen chemistry which made watching them a joy to watch. I definitely want to see this film again, and am already looking forward to the DVD! I would give The Book Thief 3.7 out of 5, and have already recommended it to all of my friends.
I hope you enjoyed this review! If you've seen The Book Thief, please comment and tell me what you thought. Is it as good as the book? What did you think of the casting? See you again soon!