Friday, December 20, 2013
In Which I Review The Book Thief (movie)
Several months ago, when this blog was brand new, I reviewed the novel "The Book Thief" favorably. It's a unique, uplifting and heartbreaking book that I encourage everyone to read. When the trailer for the movie came out, I had high expectations. The trailer for the film seemed to capture the spirit of the book, about stealing back from life when it steals from you. It had a great cast and appeared to remain true to the written word.
I finally got a chance to see the film and while I'm not disappointed in that it changed the overall plot of the book (it stayed very true to the conceptual outline), I do think the movie failed to capture the spirit of the novel and robbed it of some of that uniqueness that Zusak put into the book. Something was just missing. Some spark failed to grab me in the same way the book did.
The stealing of books also goes hand in hand with Liesel and her best friend Rudy stealing other items, like food from nearby farms, something that is wholly left out of the movie. It may have been a secondary plot in the book, but it was important in that it showed how desperate the family and people in Germany had become. In the end, the book thief didn't feel like much a thief and I hate that they left out the line, "sometimes when life robs from you, you have to rob it back" which is the story in a nutshell.
Overall Rating: B-
I don't think this is a movie people are going to rush out and see nor would I claim that it should be. It was good and there are certain highlights (like Rush as Hans Hubermann) but there was something lacking overall that prevents me from gushing like I would have liked to. Read the book then wait for Netflix to stream the film.