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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 January 2014
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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on 5 March 2014
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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on 12 May 2016
I saw this as a trailer on another DVD and having read the book, wanted to see the film. I personally don't think that Sophie Nelisse had enough credit. She was the young girl that played Liesel and was an amazing little actress for her age.
The film takes you through the Nazi ideas that all German people at the time were expected to adopt without question.
This is a harrowing story at times, as faithful to the book as it is possible to be. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson played Liesel's adoptive parents and also gave a very believable performance. Recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 March 2014
I have yet to read "The Book Thief", which I cannot wait to do, after I watched the film during the weekend. Of course, we all know what this Ann Frank-esque story is about, the Nazi Germany, the ominous time just before the Second World War, German children singing pro-Hitler songs, foster families accepting the illiterate communist youth... So there it starts, with Liesel (played by lovely Sophie Nélisse) sent to live with her new family, and just as she goes to her new school, we discover that she cannot read (or write).

So this is a story of a brave and vigorous young girl, who starts to collect books as she finds them (rescuing some of them from the Nazi fires - a dangerous venture). With the help of her new parents, played by Geoffrey Rash and Emily Watson (the always bickering Hubermanns - note the double N), and a top-secret boarder under the stairs, she learns to read and write and tell stories and softening hearts whenever she goes.

Expect wonderful cinematography (the film looks superb and very atmospheric: all the browns, beiges and pale blues setting off the crimson of swastikas), a very well-cast team of actors, all of them talented and exceptional for their roles. This is a bittersweet inspirational story of the childhood and coming of age and understanding the world, and hope. Expect a few deaths, several tense moments and the very rarely portrayed atmosphere of the German people and their reaction to the Hitler's policies and the start of the Second World War. This is a story of loss and terror of war, seen through the lens of one young girl's eyes. I enjoyed the film and never wondered why it was so long and slowly paced, and it certainly left an emotional impact on me, "The Book Thief" definitely goes for your heartstrings.

I am surprised that a lot of people are complaining about the narration of the story (I guess there is no spoiling now of the fact that the narration is done by "Death" himself), a lot of people did not find the story as moving as, say, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas [DVD] (for information, I cried while watching "The Book Thief"). Sometimes a story is just a story, beautifully told, and it does not have to be stripped bare of all the gloss and have the unadorned emotions and nothing else. "The Book Thief" is still a reminder of the cruelties of war, but beautifully told.

P.S. I have discovered that the target audience of the film is young adults. I am certainly not so young of an adult, and enjoyed the film. Perhaps you could also give it a chance?
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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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on 10 July 2014
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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on 4 April 2014
I really enjoyed this film, my mum took me to see it after I read the book, I enjoyed it so much I went to see at second time, If given the choice I would have probably seen three times but with the cinema being miles away from home and my mum not wanting to see it a 3rd time I had no choice but to wait until it comes out on DVD :) I would recommend to all ages.
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on 20 June 2014
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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on 28 March 2016
A very moving film that portrays the horror and fear of war and wartime without political animosity or bias.......and lets us see the human beings underneath.........i started reading the book but never got very far....I think when you are moved to tears in a film you keep a book it is hard unless there is something to make it better....I think now I have seen the film I might read the book!!!!! I thought it was a wonderful film...........I felt very moved..........and I thought of my dearest friends..........and my family..........and how much they all matter in our world......and yes......."Death" was not an evil character..........merely a narrator........with compassion.........and it felt good.
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