Skip to main content

Movie Review: The Book Thief

I haven't read the novel that The Book Thief is based upon but my partner, Enigma, has and informed me that, as is often the case, quite a bit is left out of the film.

I don't think Enigma enjoyed the movie any less as a result but it did leave her thinking about the differences from the book.

On the other hand I got to watch the story unfold as a movie with no such comparisons to make, just the film on its own merits.

The story is set in Germany just prior to the outbreak of World War II. A young girl, Liesel (Sophie NĂ©lisse) is fostered by a German couple, a fairly strict mother, Rosa (Emily Watson) and a more forgiving father, Hans (Geoffrey Rush).

Liesel's love of books leads her to begin stealing them despite the fact that she can't read. Hans begins to teach Liesel and eventually her new found knowledge begins to affect everyone around her, including the Jewish stowaway her foster parents hide in their basement.

My impression of this film is that it's essentially a 'slice of life' kind of film. It starts out painting a very vivid picture of what Liesel's life has been and then what it will be with her new foster parents. 

Then the Jewish boy arrives, who turns out to be the son of a man who once saved Hans life in the previous war. Much is made of an accordion Han's owns that he says once belonged to his friend. At that point I expected the story to pick up and escalate to some new danger because of something hidden in the accordion. Especially when Hans is seen fixing it.

However that's not where the story goes and the accordion becomes important for entirely different reasons. The film, from there on, never really develops other than watching the characters reacting to life and the war as it unfolds around them.

Which is fine. It's a very good movie that is well acted and, I imagine, is a fairly good representation of what pre-war Germany was like as Nazi-ism spread. You definitely feel for all the characters even some of the minor, supporting characters that are only in the film momentarily. You particularly feel for Hans and Rosa who are trying to balance being loyal German citizens against a political climate that they don't agree with but cannot speak out against.

It did make me wonder about life in pre-war Germany. Supporters of Hitler and his Government are nearly always depicted as fairly severe, heartless individuals. Especially those working for the military. I find myself wondering if there were families in Germany that agreed with Hitler's politics but still came across as average, everyday, personable citizens who you'd be happy to invite over for dinner (just don't get them started on politics).

The Book Thief is not a particularly memorable film. Only Liesel has a fully developed story arc which ends in exposition. I would have much rather the film end with a little more flair, a little more show and a little less tell.

Geoffrey Rush and Emma Watson are both very believable as German citizens speaking with English/German accents that don't sound cheesy or like a parody of the language. Sophie as Liesel really does carry the film - and is worth seeing in this role just as much as Geoffrey and Emma are worth seeing in theirs.

Despite that, I didn't find too much of the story sticking with me after the film was over. For a pre-world war II film set in Germany I expected a lot more drama, intrigue and story than what's presented. After a very strong first half, there are dramatic moments in the second half that stand out but loose their impact by the way the film ends in exposition.

I wasn't disappointed but it seemed like this film had more potential that really wasn't explored. Not essential to see in a theatre but you won't leave thinking it wasn't worth the price of admission.

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET.

Popular posts from this blog

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

Course Review: YouTube for Bosses - Sunny Lenarduzzi. How to grow your YouTube Channel into a Business

YouTube for Bosses Free Mug...  or the most expensive mug  you'll ever buy? I've been subscribed to  Sunny Lenarduzzi's YouTube channel for a few years, learning a lot on how to grow a following on sites like YouTube and Instagram. If you have any interest in growing your own YouTube channel I'd highly recommend watching some of Sunny's videos on the subject.  Definitely explore her 2019 back catalogue for the most useful information. This year she's been on a bit of a 'being authentic' pivot that, personally, doesn't resonate all that much with me (but probably speaks volumes to anyone with similar experience). I'm not saying she shouldn't or isn't being authentic, it's just I didn't subscribe to hear stories about her life journey. To get back on track, Sunny runs a successful online business with her flagship course, YouTube for Bosses , a stand alone paid course that does act as something of a gateway to further paid (but opt

Skateboard Trick Tips: Two Ways to Ollie North (Ollie One foot)

You have to be quick to see my Ollie Norths! Ollie One Foots, otherwise known as the Ollie North, is one of those skateboard tricks you learn and then tend not to do very much as more interesting trick challenges grab your attention. However it does look really cool if you learn how to kick your front foot well past the nose of your skateboard. Still shot from Braille Skateboarding's Ollie North tutorial. I was inspired to make my video below, showing two different techniques to achieve a successful Ollie One Foot, when I not only saw that Braille Skateboarding's Tutorial used a different method to the one I had learned but also, when I looked at various other video tutorials, I discovered yet another technique, with no one using the method I had originally learned. Braille's method is to simply Ollie and drag your front foot past the front of your board. The second method I came across in several video tutorials is to Ollie, drag your front foot and tap your

Skateboarding Again After almost Two Years - TET-Life Channel Update #skateboardingat52

Back in August of 2021 I made a final skateboarding video for my TET Life YouTube channel explaining that I wouldn't be making any more videos documenting my skateboard progression on account of some fairly painful stress injuries to both my feet.  At that time I'd already stopped skating for about seven months. I was also planning on closing down some of my Print on Demand Stores, primarily my Threadless and BoardPusher stores. I'm tentatively planning to restart making fortnightly videos (or possibly even weekly) for my TET Life channel and, for those of you following just this blog, I wanted to post this mid February 2023 update video to let you know what I was thinking moving forward. As you may have seen in the video I'm planning to possibly combine some skate footage with creating my art perhaps? At this stage I'm not sure? I do want to make videos for my TET Life channel and, since my feet seem to be relatively fine again, it would be nice to maybe film som

One Week on Light n' Easy #lightneasy

My partner, Enigma, and I recently decided to try Light n' Easy to replace all our daily meals in an effort to eat healthier (and not have to think at all about cooking evening meals). Enigma is about to embark on her third week of their full menu but I caved after one and opted just to get the dinners.

TV Series Review: National Treasure: Edge of History (2023, Disney+) *No Spoilers*

While I wouldn't say I was a huge fan of the National Treasure movies staring Nicolas Cage, I did find them enjoyable and would have certainly watched another if more were made in the series (or is it 'franchise' when we're talking movies?). Having finally gotten around to watching the new Disney+ series National Treasure: Edge of History I'm honestly not sure who the creators think their audience is, because it's definitely not me? At this point I've watched six episodes and I'm intending to push through until the end but I'm finding it a difficult watch because at age 52 the show feels heavily skewed towards teenage girls, or at a stretch young adults in general. There's also a very CW show vibe that I'm getting that screams 'budget' television more than any attempt to give the series a 'movie' like quality. Which Disney has done with some of its Marvel based TV series. Not even the inclusion of Catherine Zeta Jones - who

Review: FP Footwear FINO Skate Shoes

FP Footwear FINO Skate Shoes I first saw FP's FINO skate shoes in a video by YouTube channel, Braille Skateboarding, titled, THE FIRST EVER NON NEWTONIAN FLUID SKATE SHOES!? As someone whose feet hurt and bruise relatively easily just from the basic tricks of skateboarding (Ollies, Pop Shuv-its etc.) the 90% absorption of impact energy selling point seemed like an ideal solution for minimizing my injuries. A day later I placed an order through FP's website . ​​ Ordinarily I wouldn't mention Customer Service but I can't let the lack of communication on my order slide. FP's website says to expect delivery within 7-14 days of your order. After close to two weeks, my order was still marked as being processed. I sent an email asking for any kind of update, to no response. A day or two later my order was marked as completed but still no signs of shoes in my mail? About two weeks later (just over a full month of placing my order) the shoes arrived. I'm sur