Over the weekend, I watched The Book Thief. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment sent me the Blu-ray for review on my movie blog. The film is based on a book written by Markus Zusak. I have not read The Book Thief book, so I can’t tell you how closely the movie follows the book. However, I can tell you my wife, my eight-year old daughter, and I enjoyed the film. It’s not a comedy and doesn’t have any action, but the story and main character does draw you into the movie. The Book Thief is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
6 Things About the Book Thief
It’s a story about a girl who didn’t know how to read
The main character of The Book Thief is Liesel. She is illiterate, so her foster dad teaches her how to read. And once Liesel learns how to read, she grows to love books and reading. But she also lives in Nazi Germany in a time when the authorities encourage people to burn books. One night, Liesel takes a partially burned book from a bonfire. Her stepdad finds out and tells Liesel to hide the book so they don’t get in trouble. But her love of books doesn’t end there. While delivering laundry, a wealthy woman befriends her and shows Liesel her extensive library. The woman tells Liesel she can read the books anytime she comes over. But then the husband discovers Liesel reading in the library and tells her never to return. Later in the story, Liesel’s family hides a Jew named Max. When Max gets sick, Liesel reads to him everyday. And when she ran out of books to read to Max, Liesel steals some books from her friend’s library. Liesel claims she’s only borrowing the books, but as far as I can tell, she never returned the books.
Death is the narrator of the story
The narrator of The Book Thief is Death, which I thought was a bit odd. Even though some people died in the movie, the story wasn’t really about death. The narrator really could’ve been anyone, so I have mixed feelings about having Death as the narrator. On one hand, the idea is different. But on the other hand, I thought Death was a strange choice for the narrator of a story about someone who loves to read.
It’s 131 minutes, but seems shorter
The Book Thief is 131 minutes long. I found this surprising because the movie seemed shorter than that. Usually with a drama like this, the slow story actually makes it seem longer than it really is. There wasn’t any action to speed up the story or humor to break up the story. It was just a great story that made you care about the characters in the movie. And before you realize it, the movie is over.
The cast is excellent
I thought the entire cast was excellent in The Book Thief. With the exception of Death (the narrator), I thought everyone was believable. I think the story is a work of fiction, but it felt like a true story. The stars of the movie are Sophie Nélisse (Liesel Meminger) and Geoffrey Rush (Hans Hubermann). Other cast members include Emily Watson (Rosa Hubermann), Nico Liersch (Rudy Steiner), Ben Schnetzer (Max Vandenburg), Roger Allam (Narrator / Death), Heike Makatsch (Liesel’s Mother), Julian Lehmann (Liesel’s Brother), Gotthard Lange (Grave Digger), Rainer Reiners (Priest), and Kirsten Block (Frau Heinrich). The Book Thief was directed by Brian Percival.
The Book Thief includes a hidden truth
The Blu-ray includes the movie on Blu-ray disc and in digital HD via Ultraviolet streaming. It also includes deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer. In addition, the Blu-ray also includes a special feature called A Hidden Truth: Bringing The Book Thief To Life, which is not included in the DVD version of the film. The bonus features add about an hour to the runtime.
It’s rated PG-13
The Book Thief is rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material. There isn’t any profanity or nudity. However, a couple of the scenes might be a little intense or grim for very young children.
More info: The Book Thief Blu-ray