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.
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Samuel L. Jackson
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
Liesel is often called "Saumensch" ("bastard") by other people, her school friends and even by her "Mama". 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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This is without a doubt one of the most riveting, thought-provoking, and utterly powerful movies for young people (or any people, for that matter). Unlike most movies for young people, which usually encourage selfishness, lust, and who knows what else, this is a film that promotes such qualities as self-sacrifice, courage in the face of unspeakable difficulties, and using your life to make a difference for others.
Based on Markus Zusak's novel, The Book Thief expertly tells the story of a young German girl named Liesel, who is thrust into the horrors of World War II Germany and its many complications. The scope of the story is seen through the eyes of Liesel, making it quite an intimate tale that is less about war and more about the importance of remaining human in inhuman surroundings, and affecting those around you in a positive and profound way.
The film is hauntingly beautiful, and moves at an effortless pace- not too fast, not too slow- allowing the viewers to become immersed in the realities of Liesel's situation. Lovely Sophie Nelisse is stunningly perfect in the role of Liesel, capturing both the bright-eyed innocence and the eventual world-weary quality needed for the role. Liesel's good-natured friend Rudy is also expertly and realistically portrayed by young Nico Liersch. It is a delight to watch such wonderful young actors at work. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, of course, are their usual extraordinary selves as Liesel's adoptive parents.
This is truly a movie that is not just for young people. It operates on many levels, as a commentary on the disastrous effects of World War II or a poignant tale of one small soul fighting for her own sense of humanity. While it might be a bit intense for small children, a film such as this should be mandatory viewing for older children and teenagers- a thoughtful and heart-tugging reminder of the fragility of life, and the importance of looking beyond yourself. It is the sort of film that will leave viewers young and old just a bit speechless.
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