“Book Thief” steals show

Shellie Zamponi ‘15
Focus editor

 

Based off of the best-selling book by Mark Zusak, “The Book Thief” movie proved to be an emotional journey.
Set during the Second World War in Germany, 1939, the movie depicts the fictional life of 12-year-old Liesel Meminger. After witnessing the death of her brother, and having been abandoned by her mother, Liesel is sent to live with German foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. She quickly develops an affectionate bond with her new “father” and neighbor Rudy, while the severity and impatience of Rosa Hubermann leaves Liesel skittish.
Twenty-two-year-old Max, a Jew, is later introduced into the plot after the Hubermanns allow him to hide in their basement; he serves as a brother figure for Liesel. The story follows brave, heroic Liesel through a series of impactful events when strong relationships are formed through bleak moments.
Compared to the typical German-Nazi movie, “The Book Thief” focuses more on the emotional aspect of war rather than the violence. The movie was an intense, emotional journey, filled with bits of humor and sad, bleak moments. As the movie neared the end, I kept asking, “Where is the tissue box?” When the theater lights brightened, sniffles were audible throughout the entire theater.
The graphics of the fictional town of Molching transported the viewer back into the 1940s. The vivid scenes of the town throughout all of its seasons pieced together the entire experience of the movie.
The downsides to the movie are its length and pace. The movie ran 125 minutes and the pacing was slower than necessary. On the upside of pacing, though, it gave the viewer time for his/her emotions to level out. The placement of events was appropriate though and the movie stayed engaging. The viewer was constantly wondering what will happen next.
Liesel is played by 13-year-old Sophie Nelisse. Like most of the actors in “The Book Thief,” she is not well-known in America, but has starred in many foreign films, according to the online site IMDb. While the actors and actresses of the movie are not distinguished in America, with the exception of Geoffrey Rush who plays Hans, they are certainly noteworthy. They seemed reminiscent of real people, not fictional characters. Their engaging performances had the viewer feel as if they were experiencing the characters’ lives.
“The Book Thief” is a touching story filled with humor, joy and sadness. I read part of the book a few years ago and it left a great impact on me. The writing was inspirational and it was a very commanding text. However, I warn potential readers that the book starts off slowly.
Not everybody will like the movie. It has more of an emotional appeal than any other, and that may not appeal to some. However, I do recommend that people go to see the film, especially if they are looking for a meaningful movie.

 

4 out of 5 stars