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At the movies: The Book Thief

January 2, 2014

The Book Thief poster

The Book Thief is the story of Liesel, a young German girl who is sent to live with another family during World War II.  She misses her family, of course, but with the help of her kind and loving foster father, settles in fairly quickly, making friends in the neighborhood and finding her place in school.  The family settles into a routine but there’s always an undercurrent of unease because of the war.  When an old family friend shows up at their door, asking for help, they don’t turn him away, forever changing their lives.

I’ve never read The Book Thief but I’ve heard a lot about the book so I was anxious to see the movie when it came out.  I obviously can’t compare it to the book but I adored the movie.  It really doesn’t cover a lot of new ground as far as World War II stories go, but it is full of emotion and humanity and it stole my heart.   I fell in love with Liesel from the very start.  She’s a confused young girl but she’s full of grit and determination and makes the best of a tough situation.  Her foster father is kind and gentle and does all he can to help her while her foster mother has a crusty exterior but is really kind as well.

The movie really highlights the horrors of war for those left at home and it is heartbreaking.  I shed a lot of tears as I watched it but I would see it again.  Just watching the trailer gives me chills.  I thought the casting and scenery of this movie were outstanding and couldn’t take my eyes off of Sophie Nélisse (Liesel) whenever she was in a scene.  My thoughts were all over the place as I wrote this post so I’ve made it a jumbled mess but I want everyone to know that I highly recommend this movie and think it’s appropriate for young teens on up.

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46 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2014 5:16 am

    I read a similar story where children were taken for their safety and sent to England. It was an East European country and Jews who were involved. Children as young as 6 and 8 were sent and it was heart breaking for both parents and children. The children who did return as adults seemed so disassociated from the events and it seemed as if the sacrifice on the part of the parents who were all killed was almost in vain. It left me with an empty feeling. Now if I can only remember the book. This story seems to be on similar lines.

  2. January 2, 2014 6:12 am

    just Googled the movie, I think I will be going to see this one. Thanks for sharing this :)

  3. January 2, 2014 6:17 am

    I will watch it, I tried the book but gave up

  4. Beth F permalink
    January 2, 2014 6:34 am

    I haven’t seen the movie yet because I know I’ll be a mess at the theater. This one might be best to watch at home.

  5. January 2, 2014 7:41 am

    Interesting review because those in the paper have been very mixed. Actually my feelings about the book were very mixed, but I do want to see the movie!

  6. January 2, 2014 7:59 am

    I loved the book, and thought the movie was beautifully done. Certain scenes that could have been gruesome were actually moments of beauty in this film. Loved it. I’m still in awe over the acting! I wondered how the movie would be received by someone who hadn’t read the book. I’m glad you enjoyed the movie all on its own. BFR made a good point – tissues are necessary!

  7. January 2, 2014 8:09 am

    I haven’t read the book but given how much you liked the movie I may watch it.

  8. January 2, 2014 8:26 am

    The movie never came to Brainerd. :( I was torn about seeing it as we had read the book in book club and I was not sure how it would translate without breaking my heart.

  9. January 2, 2014 8:41 am

    Thanks for your review. I would like to see this movie.

  10. January 2, 2014 9:18 am

    Sounds amazing. I look forward to this one.

  11. January 2, 2014 9:37 am

    I just finished listening to the audio book, I was so moved by it. Watching the trailer of the movie makes me want to see it too. I also want to own this book. The story I pictured is much different than the look in the movie, but it seems it still touches on the important parts. If they made a movie from my mind’s eye, no one would be able to watch it. .
    I thought I was the only one on the planet that hadn’t read the book, now I see that I was not alone. I encourage you to read the book first. That’s just my opinion, though.

  12. Beth Hoffman permalink
    January 2, 2014 10:22 am

    I adored reading The Book Thief; it’s an all-time favorite. I want to see the movie, but I might wait until it’s available on DVD because I was a wreck reading the book, and I’m sure the visuals of the film will knock the wind out of me.

  13. January 2, 2014 10:50 am

    i adored the book! So much so in fact, that I’m almost afraid to watch the movie. I’m not sure if it can live up to my expectations! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it though. Maybe I’ll catch it on Netflix or something sometime.

  14. January 2, 2014 10:53 am

    I haven’t read the book yet, either. I want to see the movie, but wanted to read the book first… And the movie never came here anyway, so I have time to do that.

  15. January 2, 2014 10:58 am

    I didn’t like it quite as much as you did, but I definitely thought it was well-done. I was afraid it might be too rough to watch, but they didn’t focus on the Holocaust as much as they focused on the relationships. I gave it a 3 out of 4.

  16. January 2, 2014 11:11 am

    Sad that this movie is in limited distribution. I can only find one cinema within an 40 minute drive and they are only showing it a 9pm. I won’t go to see this so late when I know I will be bawling at the end of it. I hope it comes to home TV access SOON. This is one of my top 10 EVER best reads. (Curious Kathy – do you think you will ever read the book?)

    • January 2, 2014 11:14 am

      Good question from Care. I’ve heard how good the book is, but do I want to read it when I’ve already seen the movie? I’m not sure what to do.

    • January 2, 2014 11:21 am

      I’ve had the book for a while and hope to read it before the year is out. If I read a book/see the movie close together, I prefer to see the movie first. If I’ve just read the book, the details are very fresh in my mind and I spend too much of the movie comparing the two.

  17. January 2, 2014 11:38 am

    I plan to read this book soon and maybe watch the movie first though. I find that I enjoy books more that way.

  18. January 2, 2014 11:50 am

    I adored this movie too. I actually saw the movie before listening to the audiobook and recommend both. You get more story details and character insight in the book but the movie does a great job with the book overall. Glad you got the chance to see it! I’d see it again too.

  19. January 2, 2014 12:22 pm

    You must pick up the book to read! You will love it. They actually did a good job of staying true to the book. I wrote a comparison movie review a few days ago

  20. January 2, 2014 12:49 pm

    Wait, you’ve never read The Book Thief!? Kathy! ;) I saw the movie with my mom and I really liked it but it just wasn’t the book. I know, shocking.

  21. January 2, 2014 1:31 pm

    I really anted to see this since I loved the books, but I think I’m glad I didn’t get around to it. I hate crying at movies.

  22. January 2, 2014 1:41 pm

    Kathy I have had the book for a few years and keep on saying 1 day but I really want to watch the movie. I think if I watch it though either i’ll never read it or it will make me want to read it, the dilemma, lol

  23. January 2, 2014 2:07 pm

    I agree…the movie was wonderful!!

    THANKS for sharing.

  24. January 2, 2014 2:26 pm

    I loved the book, and I’m sure I’ll love the movie when I finally get to see it.

  25. January 2, 2014 2:49 pm

    I have heard this about this movie!

  26. January 2, 2014 7:51 pm

    I read the book but don’t think I’ll see the movie. The Boy in the Striped PJs was awfully sad and movies like that just not for me right now.

  27. January 2, 2014 9:15 pm

    I loved this book, but I don’t get out much, thank you for your thoughts.

  28. January 2, 2014 9:17 pm

    The book has been on my to-read list for a while. I’ll probably read it before seeing the movie on DVD. It sounds like whether I read the book or watch the movie, I’ll need tissues at hand!

  29. January 2, 2014 9:36 pm

    I can’t wait to see the movie, since I loved the book so much. I think I’m just going to buy the DVD so I can cry in the privacy of my own home, lol. Glad you were able to enjoy it without having read the book…but you really should read the book!

  30. January 3, 2014 8:36 am

    I loved the book myself (http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=8295) and am a bit weary to watch the movie. Glad to hear you liked it.

  31. January 3, 2014 8:52 am

    I bought the audio of this one, refusing to see it until I’ve listened. I expect I’ll rent the movie sometime this year.

  32. sandynawrot permalink
    January 3, 2014 11:01 am

    The book is very very special (HIGHLY recommend the audio, like, I can’t emphasize this enough) but I don’t really understand all the haters in the reviews of the movie. I couldn’t find fault in it at all. I thought it was very well done, and represented the book as much as a movie can. I still tear up with I think of Rudy, Mama, Papa and Liesel.

  33. January 3, 2014 12:12 pm

    I really wanted to see this movie, but it was late coming to all my local movie theaters, and when it finally did, the only shows of it were at 9 PM! I loved the book, so I hope I’ll get the chance to check out the movie once it hits DVD.

  34. January 3, 2014 3:13 pm

    I’ll definitely have to see this movie, it’s showing in our theaters. Good review.

  35. January 3, 2014 10:13 pm

    I would really like to see the movie. I read the book years ago and loved it. I am glad you think it’s worth watching, Kathy!

  36. January 3, 2014 11:01 pm

    oh Kathy you really should read the book ~ it’s better than amazing! but I’m so glad the movie was good. . .makes me even more anxious to see it!

  37. January 4, 2014 12:40 am

    Haven’t read the book,but think the movie is one that Jason would like so we may watch together.

  38. bookingmama permalink
    January 4, 2014 9:00 am

    I can’t wait to see this movie. I sure wish I’d found the time to take Booking Daughter over the holidays. Now life is crazy again!

  39. January 4, 2014 4:15 pm

    You really need to read the book! It’s so beautiful. I really want to see the movie but haven’t had a chance yet. My husband isn’t interested so I need to find someone else to go with!

  40. January 5, 2014 3:32 pm

    I’m not sure I’d enjoy the tears, but at the same time I really do want to see this movie. It sounds like it had a really powerful impact. xx

  41. January 5, 2014 3:39 pm

    I really really want to see this. I liked the book, except for how Death narrated and gave things away. Does he narrate in the film as well? I hope not!

  42. January 5, 2014 9:46 pm

    I’m about halfway through the book. Part of me wants to see the movie right away. But I think I’m going to wait a while. The book is intense, so I’ll give it some distance before the film.

  43. swright9 permalink
    January 10, 2014 4:20 pm

    Glad to hear you liked the movie. I read the book in 2012 and thought it heartfelt and offered an interesting perspective. I will see the movie most likely when it comes out on pay per view.

  44. Jennifer permalink
    January 19, 2014 3:01 pm

    I really want to see this movie. I read this book as part of a book club I helped lead in college. The book was LONG and a bit strange (it is narrated by death) but I quickly became entranced by the characters and the story line as it progressed. It looks like the movie captures a lot of that.

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