Last weekend I saw a wonderful movie, The Book Thief. I've never seen a film narrated by Death, so I knew this was not going to be the usual World War II drama. Death gave the movie a somber, and yet strangely a hopeful tone. Why hopeful? Even though Death narrated the story, I was hopeful that the main character would pull through. I won't ruin the movie and tell you. You'll have to go see it.
The story is set in Germany just before and during the war. It is based on Markus Zusak's novel by the same name. The screenplay was written by Michael Petroni and the film was directed by Brian Percival.
The main character, Liesel, played by Sophie Nelisse, stole my heart right at the beginning. On a train ride with her mother and brother tragedy strikes and her brother dies. When they stop to bury him, one of the workers drops a book, which Liesel picks up. Even though she can't read, she keeps the book because it reminds her of her brother. Shortly after her brother is buried, her mother can no longer care for Liesel and gives her up for adoption. This is where the Hubermanns enter.
Hans and Rosa Hubermanns adopted her. Hans, played by Geoffrey Rush, is a very kind and caring father who helps Liesel learn to read. Rosa, played by Emily Watson, is a woman who speaks her mind. She doesn't warm up to Liesel right away and seems unfeeling to the young girl's plight.
As the story unfolds, Liesel makes friends with Rudy Steiner, played wonderfully by Nico Liersch. Rudy secretly adores Liesel and would do anything for her.
After attending a Nazi book burning, Liesel steals one of the books that escaped the flames. The mayor's wife sees her, but doesn't turn her in. Rosa happens do to laundry for the mayor's wife and when Liesel delivers the clean clothes, the mayor's wife shares her glorious library with Liesel. However, that comes to an end after the mayor finds out.
The Hubermanns' lives as well as Liesel's become complicated when Hans hides a Jew named Max, played by Ben Schnetzer (he has the most amazing eyes), in their basement.
After seeing so many movies about super-heroes, I found The Book Thief to be a great change of pace and a movie I will treasure because, yes, I'm buying the DVD.
Here's the trailer