ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Movie review: The Book Thief

Updated on March 1, 2014

Nazis, understandably, have never been seen in a good light. Even Max Clifford would have difficultly putting a good PR spin on their WWII exploits. Mel Brooks had a fair crack though in 1968 with his The Producers, where he had them singing and dancing along to the likes of Springtime for Hitler.

This film, based on Marcus Zusak's best-selling young adults novel of the same name, mostly ignores all the horrific atrocities Hitler and his followers committed, deciding instead to centre its story around one element – that of book burning.

It's 1938 and young Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nélisse) is on a train bound to a new town in Germany with her mother and young brother. Unfortunately for her, Liesel's mother will be leaving her there with Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa (Emily Watson) Hubermann; not relatives but her new foster parents. Her mother is doing it for her own good though; as a Communist, her life and those of her family, are in danger, so she is fleeing without them.

Although Rosa is on the grumpy side, Liesel soon finds comfort in her new surroundings. She struggles at school however, due to the fact that she can't read. With the help of Hans however, she not only learns to read, but develops a real appetite for books. Unfortunately, with a Second World War on the cards, propaganda is rife, and the Nazis are keen to promote the destruction of books, by having mass book burnings in the street.

After experiencing this debacle, Liesel is horrified. Still, bitten by the book bug, she doesn't let the evil of the Nazis deter her from her finding other ways of fulfilling her new-found addiction. It's not so simple under this oppressive regime though, and her love of books could put her in real jeopardy.

There's an unsettlingly gentle sensation to this film; it may have Nazis in it, but they may as well be mischievous clowns for the air of threat they represent. If Downton Abbey did an episode with Nazis in, they would probably come across like this, offering elements of mild peril. It's no surprise then that this debut feature from British film director Brian Percival, has previously directed six episodes of – surprise, surprise – Downton Abbey.

Sure, there are some warming performances from Rush and Watson, and in particular from the young Nélisse, but it's all too twee and predictable. And although the Nazis aren't necessarily portrayed in the most of evil of lights, the film does have one main enemy – its duration. Percival manages to make its considerable two hour and ten minute length feels like it plays out WW II in real time, such does it drag on. Where is Mel Brooks and his musical historical numbers when you really need him?

Perhaps The Book Thief should have remained just that – a book – as this adaptation is certainly one that should have stayed on the shelf.

2 booms

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)