THE BOOK THIEF || MOVIE REVIEW

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Title: The Book Thief
Screenwriter: Michael Petroni
Director: Brian Percival
Distribution Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 27, 2013
Running Time: 125 minutes
Synopsis: In 1938, young orphan Liesel arrives at the home of her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa. When Hans, a kindly house painter, learns that Liesel cannot read, he teaches the child the wonders of the written language. Liesel grows to love books, even rescuing one from a Nazi bonfire. Though Liesel’s new family barely scrape by, their situation becomes even more precarious when they secretly shelter a Jewish boy whose father once save Hans’ life.

Bro, Did You Even Read?

If you read the book review, then you know that I was not a fan of The Book Thief. However, I have to say that the movie got almost everything wrong. It makes me wonder, did we even read the same book? Liesel’s relationships with all the people that mattered to her most, Papa, Rudy, and Max, were forced and unbelievable. The movie totally missed every initial encounter that was the foundation of each special relationship. There was no Liesel making Rudy miss his first soccer goal basically for the first time ever. Where was the Bonnie and Clyde-esque relationship? No stealing books together? No stealing apples and potatoes to keep from starving? There was no Papa comforting Liesel in the middle of the night because of her terrorized sleep, which sparked the late-night reading sessions. Where is the painting and the re-painting of the basement walls for new words? How is this poor painter able to have an entire chalkboard wall with perfect alphabet letters in both upper and lower case? There was no connecting with Max, a Jew with whom she was to have nothing in common, over the past that haunted their sleep. Where is the story that Max writes for Liesel on the pages of Mein Kampf? Why did we not get to experience the telling of The Word Shaker, which in my opinion is the best part of the book.

Love in the Time of Hitler

How can you totally change why Hans Huberman is sent to war? Yes, he shows compassion for a Jewish neighbor, and nothing could be worse than that in Hitler’s Germany…except maybe taking bread from your plate and giving it to a Jewish stranger who barely has the strength to walk to his own death. To not just see this Jewish person as a fellow human being, but to acknowledge their presence and offer the last remains of your food is the better story. The audience deserves to see how Hans Huberman’s entire heart landed him in another war. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime in either case, but the book scene is more powerful. Why would you not show the actual reason Alex Steiner is being sent to war? First, Alex Steiner is off to war. Then, Rudy is going to Gestapo University? WHAT?! Alex Steiner is sent to war because he stood up to The Party and said no, they could not recruit his son. He protected the innocence of his son, and he was punished for putting his family before the Führer. In Hitler’s Germany, saying no to him is on par with giving bread to an emaciated Jew. Another case where the punishment did not fit the crime, and the importance of the story was neglected in the movie.

Thus With a Kiss He Dies

Of all the things to ruin, why take such a dump on the end of the movie? I see that the movie was trying to build this epic love story between Rudy and Liesel, which must be why they had to use that tired trope of Rudy having his last dying words. Yes, Liesel and Rudy loved one another. They were best friends and a dynamic crime duo, but the movie did quite a disservice by ending with Liesel kissing Rudy and unable to leave his side. It was Papa Hans who Liesel truly loved the most! She should have been by his side and clinging to him and unable to let go. He was the one who put her broken pieces back together and helped her heal. Once again…dude, did you even read the book?!

Overall Opinion

Yes, I wasn’t a fan of the book, but that doesn’t mean I am going to let the movie slide with this less than mediocre film adaptation. There were so many things the movie got wrong that they should have just used a different movie title entirely.

The Final Grade

Burnt Popcorn: The movie is one of the worst adaptations I’ve seen. There is no way that anyone who enjoyed the book would even be able to stomach this hot piece of garbage.

Your Turn

So…what were the parts of the book that the movie totally ruined for you? Did the relationships between Liesel and her guys feel rushed? Do you prefer the book or the movie when it comes to why Papa Hans and Alex Steiner were sent to war? Let us know in the comments! |RL

P.S. Want more Book Thief? Read the book review! Join the quotefest!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I’m Katisha, the wizard behind Reel Literature. As a longtime book nerd, I hate to see an amazing book spoiled by a lackluster movie. Join me as I read the books that have definitely been watered down and most likely ruined by Hollywood. With a lot of humor and a little snark, I share my thoughts on all things books and the movies they inspire. Find me in these internet streets on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.

2 Comments

  1. I was very excited about this film, but…nothing happened. In all senses of the word, NOTHING HAPPENED. The storyline was choppy and there was hardly any character development. The only plus I can give this movie is the cinematography. On an A-F scale, I would give this movie a “D” and suggest not to waste your time on it.

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