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The Book Thief

I was in for a treat last night when I watched The Book Thief, a best-selling novel by Markus Zusak that I just finished reading last month. I am happy to report that the movie followed closely this excellent novel, and was well acted by the principal stars Sophie NélisseGeoffrey Rush, and Emily Watson.

The Book Thief opens as we soar through the clouds as the voice of Death assures us that we're all going to die and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.  Yes, the narrator of this film is Death! Immediately, there is a conflict in your mind if this is a fairy tale or serious drama. Well
 The Book Thief is both. It shows us World War II from the perspective of a young German girl, Liesel (Nélisse). After the pronouncements of Death we find that it is 1938 and Liesel younger brother dies on a train that her mother is taking them to be placed with a foster family. Later we learn that her mother is a Communist and is about to be shipped off to a concentration camp. Liesel's new parents are a non-descript German couple, Hans (Rush) and Rosa (Watson).  After a frosty beginning the three form a close-knit family unit, growing together as Europe tears itself apart.

As the years go by Liesel experiences the domestic German experience during the war; witnessing book burnings, her schoolmates becoming indoctrinated into Nazism, Jews having their shops ransacked and bundled into cars and the men in her life gradually being conscripted into the Nazi war machine.  The most notable development is the arrival of Max (Ben Schnetzer), the Jewish son of an old war buddy of her adoptive father. The family hide him in their cellar and soon he and Liesel form a strong friendship, Liesel reading to Max from banned books she's appropriated from book burnings and private libraries and Max gently encouraging Liesel to express herself creatively through her writing.

I totally enjoyed this movie which means that I highly recommend that you see this excellent movie.




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