A good way to start out is to say that I have seen this movie four times just in theatres, read the book twice (crying both times), and got it on DVD before it even officially came out (thanks to my dad). So, it’s an understatement to say that I love this movie. Even though this movie shows scenes of wartime horrors, it is a great coming-of-age movie and would be appropriate for kids 11 or 12 and older.
The story takes place in Nazi Germany during World War II. The movie is narrated by Death, a surprisingly benevolent character, who is uninterested in the living. But he becomes engaged in the life of one young German girl, Liesel (Sophie Nélisse). Separated from her mother, Liesel is left in the care of a pair of foster parents, the kind-hearted Hans (an amazing performance by Geoffrey Rush) and the gruff Rosa (Emily Watson, also wonderful). She befriends a young boy, Rudy (Nico Liersch) but keeps many secrets from him, including her thievery of books and the Jew she is hiding in her basement.
Because Liesel had never learned to read, she is teased and is determined to learn to read and write, with the help of Hans. Max (Ben Schnetzer), a young Jewish man, is separated from his mother as well and is sheltered by the family. Liesel connects with Max and they share their love of books. Max shows Liesel how books and words can be a type of freedom. But disaster is striking Germany and more and more towns are being bombed, causing the lives of Liesel and her new family to become more difficult. Sophie Nélisse has an amazing screen presence and a mesmerizing face. Geoffrey Rush was quoted as saying that Nélisse was the best actor he had ever worked with. I highly recommend the life-affirming The Book Thief. – [DVD] [Blu-Ray]
DVD Release Date: 3/11/14