The Book Thief Germany, USA 2013 – 131min.
The Book Thief
A little girl learns how to read while the Nazis burn books by the millions.
When her brother dies, Liesel is trusted to another couple by her communist mother. Once there, the illiterate girl learns to read and write, helped by her adoring adoptive father. Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler’s minions shout out their hatred of culture and art from town squares all over Germany as they burn millions of books. The lives of Liesel and her adoptive parents get even more complicated when they take in the son of a Jewish friend...
With its direct line to The Reader, this adaptation from the eponymous bestseller, which was translated into more than 30 languages, has perhaps arrived onscreen a bit late. Master filmmakers have been here, done that much better: Spielberg, Polanski, Benigni and even the lesser-known Cate Shortland with her recent Lore. With its novel-like tone and WWII setting that seems more aimed at getting an Oscar than reconstructing reality, The Book Thief offers nothing new. It also doesn’t help that the English-speaking actors offer a collection of weird, pseudo-European accents and that the children act badly.