While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being protected by her adoptive parents.
In 1938, the young girl Liesel Meminger is traveling by train with her mother and her younger brother when he dies. Her mother buries the boy in a cemetery by the tracks and Liesel picks up a book, "The Gravediggers Handbook", which was left on the grave of her brother and brings it with her. Liesel is delivered to a foster family in a small town and later she learns that her mother left her because she is a communist. Her stepmother, Rosa Hubermann, is a rude but caring woman and her stepfather, Hans Hubermann, is a simple kind-hearted man. Liesel befriends her next door neighbor, the boy Rudy Steiner, and they go together to the school. When Hans discovers that Liesel cannot read, he teaches her using her book and Liesel becomes an obsessed reader. During a Nazi speech where the locals are forced to burn books in a bonfire, Liesel recovers one book for her and the Mayor's wife Ilsa Hermann witnesses her action. Meanwhile Hans hides the Jewish Max Vandenburg, who is the son of a ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The lines on the back of the book are from the novel's prologue. See more »
During the September 1939 scene, a boy on a bicycle holds a newspaper and excitedly exclaims Hitler has declared war. This is factually incorrect. Britain and France both officially declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. Germany did not declare war on either nations. Hitler was hoping both Britain and France would come to the negotiating table as they had done previously over Czechoslovakia (The 1938 Munich Agreement). This led to a period known as "The Phoney War" when both side did little after the fall of Poland. The boy doesn't actually say that Germany declared war. His exact lines are, "England declared war on us! We're at war with England!" See more »
One small fact: you are going to die. Despite every effort, no one lives forever. Sorry to be such a spoiler. My advice is when the time comes, don't panic. It doesn't seem to help.
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For the most part, you will come out seeing this film with what you expect. "The Book Thief" takes place during the Holocaust, a subject seen in many other renowned films, but the beauty of this story comes from the perspective viewers get - that of a child's.
There is an excellent blend of different pieces that move the film along well - the violence and the intensity of the time period, the touching relationships between friends and family, and the humor they all share. Though it's nothing new, the writing and lines are still great and make the characters very likable. Performances by the entire cast, no matter how small or large a role they play, are certainly deserving of praise. Even with all the dramatic events surrounding them, it is easy to get caught in the relationship between Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as the familiar nagging parents of Liesel.
The various sets of the film - backed up with some clean, beautiful cinematography (yet nothing too astounding) - show several different parts of the town, but you are still left wanting to see more of this world. Which is where the film falls in general. For the majority of the movie, you are invested into these characters and you follow their time through WWII, and much goes on. The ending, however, comes rather quickly and you are left with that same feeling of wanting to know more. Not just of the ending, but everything before. It seems every time a moment - of suspense, of sadness, or happiness - comes, it holds on for a short while, but cuts off before you can fully take it in.
Still, the film gives a touching story to watch. The subject matter is obviously very serious, but the story of "The Book Thief" allows a wide range of people to watch this and understand, be it a young child or an adult. The characters are the best part of this film and I found them very enjoyable. The film is rather traditional and almost doesn't fit in with the rest of today's movies, but rather reminded me of many other older classics.
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