By Sarah Kinney and Jessie Kuenzel
“The Book Thief,” the World War II novel by Markus Zusak, is now a major motion picture due to arrive in theaters on Nov. 15.
It seems safe to assume that audiences will be evenly split between viewers who have read the book and those who haven’t, so for this review it seemed to make the most sense to have input from both sides.
However, regardless of whether you’ve read the book or not, the consensus is the same: “The Book Thief” is a great movie and is definitely worth a trip to the theater.
Haven’t read the book:
I hadn’t heard much about it before I saw it, but there was just an overall sense of good-ness that emanated form the trailer of “The Book Thief” that made me want to see it and the final product did not disappoint.
The cinematography was simple yet visually stunning, the set and costume design was well done without being over the top, but best of all was the acting. Each actor or actress seemed born for his or her role; they slid so well into their characters that it’s hard to imagine them as anyone else.
Geoffrey Rush gave an outstanding performance—one to rival his role in “The King’s Speech”—and the father/daughter chemistry between himself and Sophie Nélisse, who played Liesel, was flawless.
If you haven’t read the book, there are many twists and turns ahead for you, which is one of the film’s greatest assests.
Going into the theater, I was sure that I knew how it was going to end—despite the fact that I knew virtually nothing about it—and I am not afraid to admit that I was dreadfully wrong. Every preconceived notion I had going into the film was completely shattered in the best possible way.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I will tell you this: be prepared to travel through the whole range of human emotion over the course of this movie. And bring tissues.
Have read the book:
From a book to movie perspective, “The Book Thief” is one of the best adaptions in this century.
There are a few topics in the book that are not shown in the movie, but it is understandable that some things need to be cut in order to fit into a 100-minute film.
The movie also does not mention the Hubermann’s biological children or Liesel’s reading to an elderly neighbor.
One of the saddest absences of the movie is that they never show Max’s writings, “The Standover Man” and “The Word Shaker.”
Additionally, there are a few minor errors in the relationship between Liesel and Ilsa Hermann, the mayor’s wife.
Some things that were in the movie but could have been more pronounced are Liesel and Rudy’s relationship as friends and Hans’ ability to avoid Death and Death’s narration of his last encounter.
Despite these absences, the movie is still just as moving and as powerful as the book. If you liked the book, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll like the movie.