The Book Thief review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Having recently watched the impecable Hannah Arendt, it’s hard not to watch The Book Thief and see the world she saw, the people in it hiding their personal hatreds and fears through blind loyalty. However The Book Thief isn’t about that, it’s a tale of moving past fear hatred to the idea of living regardless of the world you have been forced to endure.
The film follows Liesel (Sophie Nelisse) as she is forced by her mother to live with a married couple far away from her home. While she is first aprehensive she finds herself in loving company in the form of new father Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and mother Rosa (Emily Watson). They foster Liesel’s love of books and the written word and encourage her to push herself. However when war reaches Germany her new life and family is tested in many different ways.
Having never read the book the film has been based on I cannot speak for its many fans but I can say that it’s a wonderful film not only through its excellent performances (Rush and Nelisse specifically) but through the way it sees the world. The film has a kind of hopeless optimism to it that sees Liesel and the audience through some horrible events and some trying times. Each character has something to live for, something to strive towards even with everything that is happening to their country and their home, they still want something out of life, a beautifully human desire.
While the film tells a story of people keeping secrets, its the hidden character traits that make it great, be it the soft heart of a previously cold survivalist to the unimaginable kindness of those thought to be Nazi’s. The film is a real advocate for the human spirit and its easy to see that in Liesel, a bubbly, warm and kind lead whose tale is both enviable and heartbreaking.