I used to write reviews of movies both when I was in high school and then in college I became the Entertainment editor for our paper. It has been a long while since I have written a review of anything but I think this might end up being a mix of review and personal reflection.
Although I’m a little ashamed to admit it today I saw The Book Thief and I’m only ashamed because I didn’t actually read the book before seeing the movie. After watching the movie though, it has very much made me want to read it. It’s an international best seller written by Australian author Markus Zusak. The movie has an over two hour run time and although at first glance seems heavy, once sitting down and the movie starts the time seems to fly by.
It’s narrated by Death and tells the story of a young girl, Liesel, in Nazi Germany on the cusp of WWII. She is a shy, sweet completely lovable character who gets sent to be adopted by an interesting Germany family. The mother is deceived by Liesel as “clocked in thunder” and the sweet hearted father who she says has “an accordion heart”. Both parents over the story end up being well rounded and adored characters.
One night they get a visitor Max, a Jew seeking refuse. His father saved Liesel’s fathers life years before and now they take him in regardless of what’s at sake. The many heart warming moments are scattered throughout this movie. Moments that will bring you to tears and send your heart soaring.
It has an impressive cast yet such a touching story that is just another reminder of what is important. We are to love one another and two times in the movie we are reminded just how important the arts are to the world. We need poets, authors, musicians, because when we fail to see the hope in the desolation around us, the artist don’t. Artists have the ability to transport us to a place where we forget, even for just a moment, how bad things are around us and image a better time. No matter how dark or desperate life becomes always remember that we have hope and we must keep that alive. Max asks Liesel to speak as any writer should with their eyes yet we must never forget to put our heart in the telling too.
Although an emotional ride, this movie is an excellent story. Around the holidays, we need movies like this to remind us both of our past, being a historically based novel, but also see what’s important. We have to love and risk our lives and hearts. Live the story that you want others to tell about you.