The Book Thief (2013)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Lengthy, but interesting.

As well as a movie lover, I am also a fan of television and books. On Goodreads, there are a couple of book clubs that I loosely take part in every month, and this month was The Book Thief. The thing is, I couldn’t do it. I tried so hard to read it, but I honestly hated the writing style, specifically because of the narrator (death) who used nonstop color metaphors and personifications. It got dumb. All I wanted to do was read the story and this dreadful depictions of all of these little details go so tedius that I just said, “screw it, I’m watching the movie.” So I did, and I got into it a bit more. By getting into it more, I mean I finished it.

This story follows young Liesel Meminger, a sweet little German gal that just loves her books. Well, not her books, mind you, books she stole. She’s fascinated because as the film begins, she can’t even read. So her “papa” teaches her how to read while World War II goes on in the background. Through her love of books, family, and friendship, she questions Hitler’s insistence that Jew’s are terrible people. So you can understand when a Jew is hidden in her basement, she befriends him pretty quickly.

Sorry for the messy plot description, guys, I feel as if there isn’t really much plot at all. The film is told through the character of Death’s eyes. We never see him, we just hear him as he narrates the tale. The plot is barely even coming-of-age. It’s kind of a mixture of a lot of different stories we’ve heard before. The most prominent is probably The Diary of Anne Frank. It’s like the German perspective of the story. Young girl, has a love of books and writing, all during World War II, and the audience is shows from a child’s perspective why again that war was so bad. When you think of it like that, it almost feels like the film cheated in a way.

What bugged me the most in the book, as I mentioned above, was the Death character coming up with so many ridiculous metaphorical descriptions. It is explained in the movie as what your eyes would say if they could talk, describing what they see. I get it, it’s for visualizing purposes, but the book annoyed me. Heck, the descriptions weren’t even that good. But they only pulled that twice in the film versus the…probably hundreds of times the book did it, which I was okay with. Instead, I was given the story as I would have preferred: as a story.

The story is okay, I don’t think it really reels you in, I think it has very little emotional connection with the audience, but the story itself isn’t horrible…It’s just the fact that those kids couldn’t really act. I’ve always said it’s tricky for kids in movies because they have so little experience. Nerves are often kid’s worst enemies, but recently kids have been doing terrific in films. This movie….I think the presentation dulled down the fact that the kids weren’t amazing. Either they were German-born and were trying to speak English, or they were American-born and trying to speak German…whatever the case was, they didn’t seem comfortable with whatever it was that they were doing, and thus, their acting was a bit damaged. However, the adults in the film actually did a pretty darn good job. Good ol’ Geoffrey Rush surprising me once again with his acting chops. As far as the casting went, they chose the right people that gave off tremendous chemistry.

The Good:

The story is a decent one, and even if you don’t like it, you can at least agree that the style is interesting. The visuals and music are pretty well done, and overall I do believe the score in this film deserves its nomination (not that I believe it deserves to win). If you’re like me, this will be easier to invest in than the book.

The Bad:

I still don’t understand the direction the film was headed, nor what the point was to any of it. It’s kind of interesting to watch and everything, but what’s….the point?

Memorable Quote:

Max Vandenburg: Words are life, Liesel. All those pages, they’re for you to fill.


2 thoughts on “The Book Thief (2013)

  1. Good review Dave. It had its moments, but what I didn’t like the most about this flick was the unnecessary narration. I get that it was probably in the book, but in some cases, what works so well on page, doesn’t always translate well to the screen.


    1. Yeaaa, for the most part the narration was completely unnecessary. I think they were going for the general “feel” of being different, but overall I just wanted to see the story, just like the book. The narrator put me off so much that I couldn’t even get past the first or second chapter


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