The Book Thief: a movie review

Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, tells the story of Liesel Meminger—a young German girl fostered by the Hubermann family in Molching during the chaos of World War II. Liesel’s habit of stealing books begins when she steals The Gravediggers Handbook at her younger brother’s funeral, who dies on their way to Molching. The tragic novel includes a different portrayal of the Holocaust than other books and/or interpretations.
The Book Thief movie adaptation, released on November 15, is directed by Brian Percival, starring Sophie Nelisse as Liesel, Emily Watson as Rosa Hubermann and Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush as Hans Hubermann.
Although the movie has not yet received as much appreciation as the book, I personally was quite amazed by the movie. The director, Brian Percival, did not include as many details as the book, yet his portrayal of the plot and characters is very similar to how I imagined it while reading. He was able to use his own creativity but also made use of lines in the book. After all, turning a 500 page book into a two hour movie, while still trying to preserve all the main scenes, is certainly not an easy task.
A scene that greatly attracted my attention in both the book and movie was when Liesel learns to read and to use words wisely, which led to her becoming an author. Max, a Jewish man who takes shelter in Liesel’s basement, eventually teaches her the art of writing during his stay. In the movie, Max tells Liesel a line that triggers her thoughts about words: “If your eyes could speak, what would they say?” This line helped me gain a better realization of how a person can uniquely describe what he/she may see by creatively using words.
The movie was a huge success, and I enjoyed watching one of my favorite books be turned into a movie. The acting was spot-on and I highly recommend this movie not only to the people who read the book, but also to people who are unfamiliar with the story and are interested in a refreshing perspective on such a historic event.
Staff Writer