I don’t normally write about films unless it’s award season and I’m promoting my favorite films and actors for an award. The Oscars are next Saturday but I’ve already had my say on how the awards should be handed out when I wrote about the Golden Globes.
But since films will be the subject of a lot of conversations this week, it’s appropos to bring up a film that you’re not going to hear much mention of at the Oscars (except for it’s score, which has been nominated). Yet, The Book Thief is one of the more engaging films I’ve seen in along time. And Canadian actress Sophie Nelisse, who plays the central character Liesel, did win three awards from three smaller organizations.
The film is an adaptation of the 2005 book by the same name, which has been on the New York Times bestseller list, in one category or another, for…over 400 weeks. (It is currently #2 in the “Young Adults” best seller list.) Liesel is a young girl who is taken in by a struggling German family for the monthly government stipend they will receive. Her foster father (Australian actor Geoffrey Rush) is congenial while her foster mother (British actress Emily Watson) is somewhat acerbic.
At first, Liesel cannot read. But with the help of her foster father she learns and becomes an avid reader.
The story unfolds between 1938 and the end of World War II and so the Nazi regime has a big influence in the plot. The family, who are not Nazi supporters, takes in and hides a young Jew (Max) who also has an affinity for words.
The film revolves around the relationships Liesel has with her foster parents, Max, and Rudy, a neighbor’s son who befriends, and falls in love with, Liesel. Since I don’t believe in spoiling a film by revealing too much about the plot, especially the ending, I’m not going to say anything more about what happens. (If you read the book, you know what happens.)
Here’s the trailer….