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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas More at IMDbPro »The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (original title)

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311 out of 381 people found the following review useful:

Perfectly weighted film...

9/10
Author: tomashaffenden-1 from London
13 September 2008

I'm a man's man, and it takes something really exceptional to break my emotionless machine persona. This film ripped me apart and reminded me (and my partner) of humanity inside even the most hardened man.

Perfectly weighted film in every way, from pace to acting and all framed with a wonderful score. The subtlety of the looks passing between the actors and a finale that ensured silence until the final credit rolled, makes this one of the best films i've seen in a long time.

This is the first review I have never written and i cannot think of a better way to have opened my account.

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256 out of 342 people found the following review useful:

Utterly Devastating

10/10
Author: mjavfc1 from United Kingdom
28 August 2008

My fiancé and I purchased tickets for a special advanced screening of this movie during the Carnegie Film Festival in Dunfermline, Fife. I didn't realise, but we were one of the first people to see it. I will try and not spoil it and keep the review very simple and straight forward.

The film is mainly shot through the eyes of Bruno played by Asa Butterfield growing up in war time Germany during the holocaust. After relocating at the will of the German Army, the film then centres on the friendship between Bruno and Shmuel (Jack Scanlon). I will end it there as I don't wish to spoil the rest of the film.

Putting to one side the fact that everyone has a flawless English accent (which does make it difficult to hate them at first), the cinematics, sound, editing and above all acting are a credit to the British film industry.

Asa Butterfield is fine young actor and I'm sure will be destined for even greater things in the future.

As I mentioned above, I won't give anything away, but I will say that this is the first time I have been to the Cinema and everyone sat quiet right up until the end of the credits.

Please, please see this film. It will remain with you for a long time.

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198 out of 246 people found the following review useful:

Stunning! Simply Stunning!!!

7/10
Author: TheEdge-4 from Rochford, Essex
13 September 2008

There have been more than a few films on the subject of the Holocaust, possibly the daddy of them all being Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" based on the book "Schindler's Ark" by Thomas Keneally. Much better, however, in my mind is Costa-Gavras' "Amen" based on Rolf Hochhuth's play "Le Vicaire". Now Mark Herman's "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", itself based on John Boyne's novel, is fit to mentioned alongside these two great films.

I was initially doubtful at the premise of this film since my knowledge of Holocaust history suggested that 8 year old boys would have been sent straight to the gas chambers on arrival rather than set to work in a camp (obviously I am happy to be set straight on this point if I am wrong). And having seen the film, I also doubt that the boy in the camp (Shmuel, well played by Jack Scanlon) would be able to sit at the camp fence undetected long enough to meet and talk to Bruno, the camp Commandant's son (an astonishingly assured performance by newcomer Asa Butterfield).

There has also been some criticism of the fact that all the actors speak in Received Pronounciation English accents (even American actress Vera Farmiga, whose English accent is completely faultless). This is true, although to be completely accurate, all the actors would have to speak in German and the film would have had to be subtitled as a result.

In truth, however, none of these criticisms actually matters a damn. For even though all of the above is undeniably true, the film still works. And my, how it works. When it finished, I sat in my seat stunned (I had the same reaction after watching "Disaster Movie" last week, but most definitely not for the same reason, I assure you).

The Holocaust as seen through the prism of 8 year old German boy is a novel approach and although we all know what is happening at the camp nearby, at the beginning, he does not. And every step he takes, he gets closer to discovering the truth, losing his childhood innocence in the process.

What I liked about this film is the sophisticated and multi-layered portrayal of the German characters. None of them are one dimensional wholly evil characters but nor are they wholly good either (not even Bruno who tells lies on several occasions, one occasion which results in brutal punishment for one of the prisoners as a consequence).

With good performances from Asa Butterfield as Bruno, Amber Beattie as his sister, David Thewlis as his father, Vera Farmiga as his mother and Jack Scanlon as Shmuel, this may not be the first film about the loss of childhood innocence in the Holocaust (Roberto Benigni beat Herman to it with "Life is Beautiful" and whilst Benigni's film has a powerful end of its own, even that does not compare to the powerful shattering ending which this film possesses) but it is the best and most effective to date.

With restrained direction by Mark Herman and a similarly restrained score from James Horner, if this film does not win the hat full of Oscars next year that it surely deserves, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will have shown itself to be completely irrelevant.

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189 out of 230 people found the following review useful:

A very good film

9/10
Author: Nimrod-14 from UK
15 September 2008

When my son (nearly 12 years old) read the book he was awake until 5am that night thinking about the story and what it all meant; he had some penetrating questions too. A day or so later he said that he thought that it would make a good film, and imagine his delight when he saw that there was a film of the book.

I have taken him to see the film; and was riveted. I think that the style of the film is really that of an old fashioned family film, however the subject matter is emotionally very demanding and all the better for that. It does what good drama should do - makes you think and feel. As the credits ran, at the showing that I saw, no one moved or spoke for a minute or two. The Holocaust is a difficult subject, but to tell a story in such a way that it is accessible to a 12 year is a great achievement.

There have been some comments that the cast speak English (rather than, presumably, German) and that this is somehow a bad thing. What are the alternatives? Either sub-titles or daft 'ello 'ello accents. In some ways the ordinariness of the Nazis and the family points up the horror of what happened – that ordinary people can do the worst of things to fellow human beings.

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137 out of 152 people found the following review useful:

All things truly wicked start from an innocence-Ernest Hemingway

9/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
29 November 2008

I was so excited my theater got The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, from the moment I saw this trailer, I knew I was in for a treat. This movie just looked incredible, even though it's a touchy subject with the holocaust, it still looked like it was going to be a great story. Everyone always makes a comment about the innocence of childhood, what it was like to just not have reason, to just go with the flow of things before adults tell you what you have to do. So I watched The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas today and this movie seriously is one of the saddest films I have ever seen, but I felt it was very maturely handled. The actors are great and the story is very touching, to watch these two boys from two completely different worlds who come together just to have fun, be boys, not because of the difference of their background.

Set during World War II, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence. The boys have a great friendship talking every day, enjoying the company. But when the father gives Bruno a Nazi propaganda loving tutor, Bruno becomes confused, is his father an evil man or is his friend the evil one? Love his country and do his duty or don't judge and just stay true to his friend? Bruno must decide all this with some scary consequences ahead of him.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a fantastic film, though if you see it, I do recommend bringing the tissues. I couldn't believe the chemistry they had with these two young actors, they worked so well together as these innocent boys who both have no idea what's going on. Bruno doesn't know why his friend is behind fences, and his friend doesn't know why he's there either. The ending is extremely powerful and the story keeps you interested. I do recommend seeing The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, it's a treasure from 2008.

9/10

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137 out of 166 people found the following review useful:

Stunning

10/10
Author: Hannah Edwards from United Kingdom
19 September 2008

I read the book "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" after coming across it in the library almost a year ago, and it amazed me. The unique approach taken by Mr Boyne put the subject matter across in a fresh and, if it is possible, even more heart-wrenching fashion. When I heard they were making the book into a film, I was very anxious, as I thought that they couldn't possibly convey the book onto the screen appropriately.

I am delighted to say that I was entirely wrong. I have just this minute returned home from seeing the film and I am absolutely stunned. The film is practically identical to the book, which was wonderful to see, and I thought that the acting was superb. Vera Farmiga and Asa Butterfield were, I thought, exceptional. The film was handled fantastically and I believe that the feel of the novel was not lost in the translation to screen.

Seeing the film was a lot more intense than reading the book and, even knowing what was coming, I found myself sobbing at the end, as were my father and step-mother, the latter of whom had never read the book, and was utterly shocked. This is the first film I have ever seen in which the whole audience were silent from beginning to end, and then, when the film ended, not a single person moved for a long time afterwards.

The film is an incredibly powerful, moving story, told superbly well by a stellar cast and crew. I would recommend it immensely to everyone.

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145 out of 201 people found the following review useful:

A movie that everyone must watch

10/10
Author: Niaz Morshed Chowdhury from Glasgow, United Kingdom
14 September 2008

I was sitting at the very back row of Cineworld, Dublin screen nine and struggling with my tears. I thought it would be extremely embarrassing if people see tears in my eyes. But I was so wrong! The lady sitting beside me was crying like anything. Finally we ended up with the move and it started showing casts on its black screen. But, not a single person moved from his seat or probably lost their (including myself) power to move. The only sound I heard was the sound of people's emotion. Guy sitting one row before me hugged his girlfriend who were crying like a little kid. The guy himself was also in tear. I saw a girl from Cineworld cleaning staff with horrifying red eyes. Everyone was spellbound there!

I am talking about the movie THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, unexpectedly a too good movie. I didn't have a single clue about the movie itself and just tried to explore something new. Fortunately or unfortunately, Bruno (main cast of the movie), a young 8-years old kid who love to explore new world explored too much for us that made us all cry while leaving the cinema. I just don't want to spoil your entertainment by giving hints about the story. Rather, I would suggest you to watch the movie and discover some critical facts that sometime we forget in this heartless world.

THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, a movie from an Irish writer and an English director; everyone must watch. If you tell me to rate, I would say, 1 to 10 scale is not enough to rate this movie. We better keep it above rating!

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122 out of 159 people found the following review useful:

Amazing

10/10
Author: sophie-l-chapman from Lincoln, United Kingdom
22 September 2008

Although it starts of slow,you soon get wrapped up in the story and feel as if you are there. It's amazing to see the different points of view and the acting is so believable you feel as if it is all happening there and then. I have cried at films in the cinema before but this is the only film that has made me want to sob. When it finished and the credits started rolling, no one moved from their seats or said anything. We were all shocked, and when people did start to get up an leave the cinema, still no one said anything. It is the best film i have ever seen and recommend everyone sees it.

Sophie x x x

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109 out of 138 people found the following review useful:

One of the most affecting pieces of Cinema released in years

9/10
Author: tpurcell-1 from Dublin, Ireland
22 September 2008

There are more dramatic and more philosophical pieces of cinema dealing with this very emotive subject, but few deal with the horror, futility and falsehood of the "final solution" with such clear simplicity. We see the lead characters as both humans and monsters we see internal conflict and how they each come to terms with their conflicts, above all we see how futile their conclusions were.

There will be the predictable comparisons with Schindler's List but you might also want to compare this movie to "The Counterfeiters" which also deals with the conflicts necessary to survive. Watching this movie I kept being drawn back to Primo Levi's book "If This is Man" the story of his time as a prisoner suffering from this evil.

The great success of the film is its simplicity, it does not seek to over analyse but simply allows the development of the characters to tell the story.

One of the contributers spoke of how he was in screen 9 (if I remember correctly) in Cineworld Dublin - I was in Screen 11 and I can had the same experience, the film ended and no one moved, all were in a state of shock, no, sorrow. This is not a film for young children, but older children and adults familiar with the evil addressed in this movie should go and see it. This movie deserves great success. I rate it 9 out of 10 and would have given it a perfect score except for some small technical questions, but none that take away from this fantastic piece of cinema - All associated with this movie should be rightly proud of there work and if any of you read these comments - Thank You!

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62 out of 88 people found the following review useful:

Moving + doesn't put a foot wrong

8/10
Author: sara-343 from United Kingdom
11 September 2008

You don't often sit in a BAFTA screening and hear weeping behind you but even the most hardened cineaste would be moved by this look at the holocaust through an Aryan child's eyes.

It is beautifully scripted, acted and shot too - with none of the anachronisms of taste and language that bedevil historically-set films such as The Duchess.

A small, British movie with an unusual take on a ghastly and well-worn subject.

PS - for parents: It's a 12A in Britain and I wouldn't take a child under about eleven. Nor would I let them go alone.

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