By Ranny Levy, Grandmother extraordinaire, Founder, President of Kids First!
“The Book Thief” Gives a Youth’s Perspective of Surviving the Holocaust
Based on the beloved bestselling book, “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak, tells the story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany. I read this book early in the year and could not put it down. The story is so well crafted and the humanity of the key characters so extraordinary, it completely draws you in. I haven’t seen the film yet but our youth film critics have. It’s a film I look forward to sharing with my grandsons. As you can see below, our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics were equally drawn in. Canela R. found “the idea of having the narrator as Death really grabbed my attention and held my attention to this unbelievable story to the very end.” Gerry O recommends “that everyone watch this film and think about what happened in the past. We all have responsibility to make sure that this history doesn’t repeat itself.” See their full reviews below. “The Book Thief” opens in NYC and LA November 8 and nationwide November 15.
The Book Thief
Full video review available here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLLOcvuO6I4
I bet you have seen many movies that have narration but I bet you haven’t seen one like this. In this movie, the narrator is Death.
The Book Thief is about a young girl whose brother dies and her mother abandons her – all at the age of 11. She’s adopted by an older couple in Nazi Germany. Her foster father teaches her how to read which lights a fire inside of her to read and read and read. Again, since this is Nazi Germany, books are very hard to find. The only way she can get more books is to “borrow” them. Also, her family agrees to hide a young Jewish man in their basement which puts the young girl’s family at great risk. But, the young girl and the young man become very good friends, helping each other through hard times. During this time, there are many people dying so Death is very nearby and has a lot to say. The Book Thief is all told from Death’s perspective.
The lead characters are the young girl, Liesel Meminger played by up-and-coming actress Sophie Nelisse and her foster father and mother played by Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. These characters try to live a normal life while fighting for it.
One of my favorite scenes is when a friend of Liesel’s, Rudy, goes to the running track and covers himself in mud so he can look like Olympic Track Star Jessie Owens. I like this scene because it shows how Rudy didn’t believe what Hitler was saying and supported Liesel and her family.
The look and sound of this film helps convey the emotional story of Liesel and her friends and family. The sets and costumes are all beautiful and really portray 1940s Germany. The music is sad but also, hopeful. The cinematography is beautiful and also lets us see the harshness of their lives.
The message of this movie is “to stand up for what you believe and don’t let a group of people tell you otherwise.”
I recommend this movie to ages 9 and up. Although this is a sweet passionate film it does take place in Nazi Germany which includes violence and death.
I give this movie five out of five stars because the idea of having the narrator be Death really grabbed my attention and held my attention to this unbelievable story to the very end.
“The Book Thief”
Full video review available here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71CfynCvUtk
Cast interviews available here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOpkXnNb5s8
Out of all the movies I’ve ever seen, this one is the saddest. “The Book Thief” is a fantastic film that would make everyone who sees it cry, laugh, enjoy and be at the edge of their seats.
This movie has so much to watch – a tiny bit of comedy, sadness, history, suspense, thrilling scenes, intense, a bit of violence and, of course, theft.
The story begins when a young girl is on her way with her sick brother to live with a new family. Sadly, the brother dies along the way. The girl is left alone with a new mother, a new father and stuck in Germany during World War II. Her family does a lot of scary things and it’s a very sad story as well.
The movie has so much history. I am Jewish so I cried quite a lot when I watched it. The facts are very accurate and very well done. The actors are stupendous. They are sad, happy, scared, brave and a lot more. The special affects and the thrilling way this film is done is amazing. This film is one of those films that made me cry. I wanted to go back in time so I could change Hitler’s childhood to convince him to be nicer, kinder and not kill people. This movie is definitely big, intense and memorable.
My favorite scene is a happy one. The family is hiding a Jew in their basement. The father (Geoffrey Rush) is a bit of a goof so he gets a lot of snow and they start a snow fight in the basement. For once, the mother plays along, and the girl builds a snow man. There they are huddled against each other, listening to the father play an accordion and feeling happy despite what is happening in the outside world.
Because the movie is so intense, I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend that everyone watch this film and think about what happened in the past. We all have responsibility to make sure that this history doesn’t repeat itself.
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