Saturday, November 30, 2013

Movie Review: The Book Thief

A friend asked if I was interested in going to see the above movie and not knowing much about it, but enjoying having someone to go to the movies with, I agreed.  I won’t say I regretted accepting the invitation, but I will say that any movies set in World War II should come with a disclaimer that it can’t end well for all the characters.  The idea and sadness that comes with that time period I respect and understand, but do sometimes feel like it is shoved down our throats by every story-teller and filmmaker out there.  I get it.  World War II was a terrible tragedy.  I believe the world, for the most part, understands and wants to learn from that.  To use that as a setting for so many movies, or stories, to me does it a disservice, just like using 9/11 as a backdrop for a romance story, like in the Robert Pattinson ‘Remember Me’ movie that came out some years ago.  At some point, I feel like it is overdone and is used in an irresponsible way.  Having said all that, this movie was enjoyable and pulled at all the right moments, though handling the Nazi occupation as a little less biting than most movies depict it.

The Book Thief follows the story of a girl who is adopted by a German family, she is lucky enough to also be German, and has to adjust to life in different surroundings at a great disadvantage.  The girl finds some friendship in a nearby boy of the same age and her adopted father, played by Geoffery Rush.  The mother is played by Emily Watson and is both rough and soft on her new daughter.  The story moves on pace with the war the Nazis declare upon the world, things at home growing more and more difficult.

The story ends as you might expect and while I felt moved by it at the time, I didn’t feel the staying power of it over time.  The performances are all well done and the story is touching.  Towards the end of the movie, I just wanted it to be over, and that says something, I think.  This felt like a movie made to win awards, not so much to reach people or encourage them.  The friend I’d mentioned said she was inspired to write after seeing it, but I wasn’t so motivated.

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