Based on a much-beloved book that was a best seller for 6 years, “The Book Thief” mainly shines a light on everyday Germans who were just struggling to get by themselves during the Holocaust- Germans who were no fans of the Nazis.
This is the story of 12 year old Liesel Meminger, who is given up by her mom to foster parents in a tiny rural German village. Tragedy strikes during their train trip to the countryside when Liesel’s younger brother dies enroute. Liesel isn’t aware her mom is giving her up to save her life. The mom is a gypsy and knows she is doomed by the Nazis.
Liesel’s foster parents are a hardened, impatient Rosa (Emily Watson) and a loving Hans (Geoffrey Rush) , who teaches Liesel to read, ultimately giving her a passion for the books which were banned and burned by the Nazis.
As Liesel settles into her new life and becomes fast friends with a village boy, the new family’s life is turned upside down when a Jewish teenage boy shows up at their door. He’s the only child of a man who saved Han’s life in World War One. Hans had promised the dad he’d always take care for his family. Of course, if the hidden Jew is discovered, the entire German family will end up dead or in a concentration camp.
This is a surprisingly sweet film, an inspiring story of how one girl’s courage inspired everyone around her.
13 year old Canadian actress Sophie Nelisse is just tremendous, along with the always impressive Emily Watson and Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush.
Do take your tweens and teens. Even for adults, this is a fresh look at the Holocaust, through the eyes of the everyday , powerless German.