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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love, life, death, literature and the impact of war upon ordinary people.
What I enjoyed most about the film was how death is introduced as a character. It's the voice of death which is used throughout the film to narrate much of what has happened in the past.

It's death who introduces Liesel, Sophie Nelisse, in the opening scenes and death who fills in her life story in the closing scenes. He's in and out throughout the film gently...
Published 4 months ago by JK

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Literary Larceny
"The Book Thief" is a strange movie which doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. At times it borders on sentimentalism, and appears as nothing more than a childhood fantasy of growing up in 1930's Germany. But the influence of the coming war forces it into something darker and more mature in theme.

The original book is written from the point of view of...
Published 2 months ago by Neil Lennon


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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love, life, death, literature and the impact of war upon ordinary people., 11 July 2014
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Book Thief [DVD] (DVD)
What I enjoyed most about the film was how death is introduced as a character. It's the voice of death which is used throughout the film to narrate much of what has happened in the past.

It's death who introduces Liesel, Sophie Nelisse, in the opening scenes and death who fills in her life story in the closing scenes. He's in and out throughout the film gently taking souls while passing on his own unique and inspiring message about all he has learnt about us, the human family. Very philosophical and really quite beautiful. His speech in the closing scenes was so uplifting I was almost moved to tears.

The story concentrates on the war in Germany and focuses upon the growth of the Nazi's and the impact that has on a small town in which Liesel is taken to live with 'adopted' parents. Liesel can't read much at first but develops a passion for books. A passion that will remain throughout her life and one that's encouraged by her new 'papa' and the Jewish boy, Max, hiding from the Nazi's in their cellar.

Some of the darker events of the times are shown but the film doesn't concentrate only on the fate of the Jews. It goes to great length to highlight the absolute racism and discrimination of the Nazi's even against their own people. There are a couple of great scenes set around Jessie Owens, American track and field Olympic gold medalist, which I thought were particularly well done. What 'The Book Thief' is asking you to consider is the effect an extraordinary war had upon ordinary people and how it impacted upon love, friendship and family.

We bought the DVD last week and I've watched it twice. It really is a good movie and such a clever blend of dark/light, sad/happy. I'm more than happy to recommend.

The Book Thief is on one DVD and runs for approx. 131 minutes. The film has a '12' classification and I wouldn't recommend it for children much younger as there are some strong themes and some violence.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars two other fine young actors to look out for Sophie Nélisse and ..., 10 July 2014
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This review is from: The Book Thief [DVD] (DVD)
I will be watching this film over again. A simple and realistic depiction of Nazi Germany and the perils of life at that time. Geffrey Rush and Emily Watson are perfectly cast. two other fine young actors to look out for Sophie Nélisse and Nico Liersch. Would recommend this film for a younger audience, as an insight into Nazi Germany.
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96 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE STRANGER CAME EARLY IN FEBRUARY, 13 Jan 2014
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
The film takes place in Nazi Germany. The opening narration is done by Mr. G. Reaper (Roger Allam). Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) is going to live with new parents. Unknown to her at this time, her mother was taken away because she was a communist. Liesel lives with some good Germans who care for her as their own. She is illiterate but takes a shine to reading. Liesel gets engrossed in reading books, while her loving adopted Papa (Geoffrey Rush) walks the fine line by hiding Max (Ben Schnetzer) a Jew whose father saved his life in WWI. The film gets its title from the fact Liesel would steal (and then return) books from the Burgermeister.

The film contains both the feeling on impending doom and hope simultaneously. I felt like I was reading poetry while I watched the film. It was executed that well. The performances were spectacular.

Must see film for those who love a great movie. It is an Oscar worthy film for Brian Percival. I appreciate what you did even if the Academy did not.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Literary Larceny, 21 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Book Thief (Blu-ray)
"The Book Thief" is a strange movie which doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. At times it borders on sentimentalism, and appears as nothing more than a childhood fantasy of growing up in 1930's Germany. But the influence of the coming war forces it into something darker and more mature in theme.

The original book is written from the point of view of Death, the old Grim Reaper himself. While this is used as a narrative tool in the movie it is not especially effective and you easily forget about this aspect as you follow the story of the girl Liesal and the bond she forms with her adoptive parents. The best moments of the movie are those which deal with the more subtle aspects of Nazism, the indoctrination of the children with Nazi propoganda in an otherwise idyllic setting of a rural German town. It's a shame this was not developed more as scenes like Liesal happily wearing her League of German Girls uniform without really knowing what it stands for, was much more effective than the more familiar scenes of book burning or Nazi thuggery.

Sadly the scenes of family bonding and sentimentality that form the main focus of the film did not seem very convincing to me. Geoffrey Rush who plays the father, is just too nice, and Sophie Nelisse who plays Liesal looks more like a child model than an ordinary run of the mill girl. When the movie returns to its darker tones of war and death it has less impact because its scenes of everyday life seemed so artificial.

It is not a bad movie, but it could have been a lot better. The 12A rating is an awkward compromise as its probably a bit too grim for young children while being a little too mawkish for older audiences. Trying to appeal to everyone has left this a lesser movie, but it does have its moments and is worth watching, especially if you are interested in this era of history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film, 20 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Book Thief [DVD] (DVD)
Watched this film on a transatlantic flight - I never got to New York so fast! Totally gripping story from beginning to end - be warned you might cry buckets like I did, but it was the best film I have seen in ages. The acting is super especially the 2 youngsters playing Liesel and Rudi. I have got the book now so have to read that too but can't wait to get the DVD. I agree with another poster this is Oscar worthy stuff.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a thief, just a borrower, 5 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Book Thief [DVD] (DVD)
Having read reviews of this film suggesting its viewing should be accompanied by a box of Kleenex, I promised myself from the outset that I would simply not cry over this one. (I have a reputation for being somewhat emotional, even when just watching TV adverts.) However, my resolve went out of the window as, after having now seen said film at my local cinema last night, I came away desperately dabbing at my eyes in the hope that my economy mascara had not smudged too badly. For it is indeed an emotional film. It is also quite an unusual one in that it mixes the abstract with intense drama. I have not read the book (though I fully intend to now) but understand that it has a much more ethereal quality about it. Thus, it would have been difficult to reproduce that on the screen, other than in limited amounts. Therefore the film starts, and is infrequently returned to, narration by a storyteller who is in fact `death' personified. And this, along with spectacular cinematography, helps to give it a kind of misty-eyed, almost magical feel.

The subject matter, however, is far from that. The viewer is shown the harsh realities of life in Nazi-rising WW11 Germany. And, it's quite a shock actually to discover that they, like us Brits, were just as scared, just as poverty-stricken and just as much at the mercy of the Hitler-led regime. Young Sophie Nelisse, the actress in the lead-role of Liesel, lends a wide-eyed innocence to the whole proceedings and is well supported by a talented Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson in the roles of her adoptive parents, who take her on (for money ) when she is removed from her own communist mother's care. Harbouring a young Jewish man, Max, is the centre of the story and it is Liesel's relationship with all three of the afore-mentioned, and a neighbouring school friend, Rudy, that fuel it.

Having arrived illiterate, Liesel is taught to read and write by `Papa' Hans Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush), whose patience, kindness and humour are ever to the fore, and which contrast sharply with the "thunder storm" (Liesel's words) that is his wife, Rosa (Emily Watson) - who actually is not quite as formidable as she might at first seem. Liesel's quest for books, reading, and words in general, is further aided by Max's enthusiasm for such. He relies on her to keep him informed of the world, as his view is somewhat marred by being kept in the dark, cold basement of the house, unable to see the light of day. Liesel's hunger for books is both sated and increased when the local Mayor's wife allows her access to the mayorial household library - from where she later `borrows' the odd tome after creeping in uninvited. (She insists she is not a "thief" - as the film's title would suggest!)

I will not spoil the plotline for those who have not yet seen this little gem of a movie, suffice to say that, as mentioned in the book's 'blurb' I believe, "death visits Liesel three times". She certainly grows up quickly and, like so many of that era, witnesses things that young eyes should really not see. But it is how she, and those around her, cope with adversity that is central to this film, where hatred and morality vie for places, and where neighbour is turned against neighbour and fear and suspicion are the order of the day. Surviving can only make one stronger and there are some surprising twists that develop in that very plot-line; fate can indeed be teasingly, and often ironically, fickle.

I hope this film gets the appreciation (and awards) it deserves as it is beautifully scripted, sensitively directed, superbly acted and tantalising to watch (I didn't even notice that two and a half hours had passed.) The sadness and sheer stupidity of fascism at its height is off-set by the realisation of the strength of the human spirit to transcend such darkness. In the end, I was left feeling sad (in that sort of deeply moved way that only a great cinematic experience seems to evoke) yet also inspired and uplifted.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love the book you will love the film. You will love the film anyway., 19 Mar 2014
By 
Mrs. F. M. Welch (Stafford. England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book Thief [DVD] (DVD)
Having listened to The Book Thief on audio book three times I was ready to be disappointed with the film.... so often our high expectations are thwarted. Not this time. The film was simply wonderful. Told sensitively and absolutely true to the book. There must be edits of course to make it fit the running time but I could not tell you what they are, they certainly did not detract. The casting was brilliant for me, everyone just as I had imagined them (apart perhaps from the Mayor's wife who I had thought more downtrodden and frumpy, but the elegant sad lady was a better portrayal than my image actually). Death did not have as much to say and I would urge people to read the book, or better, listen to it on audio, as Death's narrative does add a lot to the background and the poignancy of what was happening in Germany at the time. The setting, the homes, the town, the streets... everything seemed just right. Well done. See it and enjoy. And yes... have the tissues handy. I know the story well and I still wept.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "But in the end there were no words. Only peace.", 27 April 2014
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Book Thief [DVD] (DVD)
As the story opens, it is 1938, and a young German girl whose mother cannot keep her, is sent to live with strangers. Little Liesel adjusts to her new life with the help of her kindly new Papa and the books she steals, which teach her to read. But life becomes frightening when the war starts and the family decides to hide a Jew in their home.

This is an exquisite movie, the best I've seen a long time. The story is unforgettable and the cast is outstanding. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson are wonderful as Liesel's foster parents Sophie Nelisse is perfectly cast as Liesel, growing from age 8 to 16. We see the war through her eyes; she is unflinchingly brave and lovable.

There is a small amount of violence, mostly bombing, with just enough good people to show that life is worth living. This is a tear-jerker, but well worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'A COMPELLING AND INSPIRATIONAL STORY', 30 Mar 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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The story is set in 'Germany' during 'World War 2' starting a little before
when 'Liesel' and her brother are being taken to live with 'Hans' and
'Rosa Hubermann' their mother can no longer cope, sadly 'Liesel's'
brother dies before the journey ends.
When 'Liesel' attends her new school the children mock her because
she cannot read.
Her new 'Papa' 'Hans' sets about teaching his adopted daughter...
Some little while later the family are joined by a young man 'Max' a 'Jew'
who is hiding from the 'Nazi' authorities.
These are cruel times in 'Nazi Germany' 'Jews' are openly abused by
'party' members (of course this turned more sinister)
'Lieslel' befriends 'Max' however the family are taking a huge risk sheltering
him, 'Han's' gets 'Leisel' to promise not to tell anyone of their new guest.
To make ends meet 'Rosa' takes in washing and ironing work from home,
one day she sends 'Liesel' with the washing she does for the 'Burgermeister'
and his wife to their home and told to ensure she brings the payment back
home, when at the fine home she is invited in and, because she'd caught
a glance, was shown the library by the 'Burgermeister's' wife and invited to
start reading a book she'd seen.
However some while later when the master of the house see's 'Liesel' in his
home reading, he bans her, and ceases the washing/ironing work her mama
does for him.
'Liesel's' school pal 'Rudy' guesses that they have a guest in the 'Hubermann'
home, the conversation is overheard by 'bully' 'Frans' which adds to the risk
being taken.
'Max' falls ill, 'Liesel' finds a way through the 'Burgemeister's library window
and borrows books to read to her sick friend.
Inevitably War reaches their small town all too soon.
(Because many cities in the U.K received massive loss of life and devastation,
we tend to forget what we dealt out in return, this film brings home the truth
that innocent lives were lost on both sides as portrayed in this film)
The film is enchanting, addictive, often heart-warming very moving and sometimes
sad, the story will almost certainly pull you in from the very beginning, and yes it
may well be an idea to have 'tissues' handy.
Superb performances from the cast members.
The picture and sound quality is excellent.
Features -
*A hidden truth.
*Bringing the Book Thief to life.
*An Inspirational history.
*Bringing the past to life.
*The legend and the music.
*Deleted Scenes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK THIEF DVD, 14 Aug 2014
By 
Mrs. K. E. Wing (cleveland, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book Thief [DVD] (DVD)
I read this book a while back, i loved the naration by death himself! it was a poignant moving story about a street in Germany under the Hitler regime! burning books apparantly inspired this HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE to burn the very souls of humanity!
The movie was not as brilliant as the book, but i know how hard it is to translate pages to movies - however you dont need to read the book to watch this movie!
Its a wonderful adventure about a young girl during the Nazi regime who simply has a thirst for knowledge and steals books! borrows books takes books from burning fires - she is an inspiration to death - the narrator! and to all who watches this movie or who reads the book!
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The Book Thief [DVD]
The Book Thief [DVD] by Brian Percival (DVD - 2014)
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