Based on the book by Australian writer Markus Zusak, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel, a little German girl in a little German town during World War II. She has interactions with other German children, adoptive parents, Nazis, and Jews. Throughout she learns about the horrible effect that the war had on everyone. She also gains a love of books, something hard to come by in Nazi Germany. (To quote Henry Jones, Sr., “It tells me that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them!”)
The narrator for the story is Death. The Grim Reaper shares some thoughts on death as he guides us through a particularly busy time for his work. Without giving away too much of the plot, I can safely say that Liesel does lose people that are important to her. WWII is not really known for its happy stories.
We decided to watch this with our kids, because we feel that it’s important for them to understand this time in our world’s history. Seeing it from the perspective of Liesel helped The Nerdling connect with what was going on. By the end, she was bawling but was completely entranced by the story.
I liked it too. It got a little long during some of the scenes, but overall told an interesting story of life under Hitler’s rule. I’ve always been interested in WWII movies, but seeing it from a young person’s point of view was a fresh take on it. And cinematically, it’s very well done. It has crisp lines and bright colors. It’s just pretty to look at.
Some of the themes are pretty heavy, especially for younger children. However, there was no sex and all of the swearing was in German. We felt our kids were old enough to understand what was happening and have a conscience about whether it was right or wrong. But every parent should know what their own kids can handle before randomly showing the atrocities of WWII. As an adult, it’s a very enjoyable and thought-provoking look at Germany in the 40s.
Did YOU see it? Did YOU read it? What did YOU think? Tell ME!