Friday, November 15, 2013
The Book Thief
It's virtually impossible to make it through awards season without a World War II / Holocaust film. This year's entry is 'The Book Thief' based on the popular novel by the same name. 13 year old Sophie Nelisse plays the titular character, placed under the care of foster parents, played by Emily Watson and Geoffrey Rush, in Germany during the war. In her new environment she tries to adapt to all who surround her, including a nagging mother, an adoring father, a young boy suitor, and a Jewish refugee taking shelter in their basement.
According to Nelisse, her research of the Holocaust included a viewing of 'Schindler's List', 'Life is Beautiful', 'The Pianist', 'The Reader', and 'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas'. This is certainly the gold standard for Holocaust films. But unfortunately this film doesn't belong anywhere near that stellar class. With the exception of the always amazing Geoffrey Rush, who is just a supporting role here, I didn't connect with any of the characters, and therefore film didn't move me emotionally at all. And that's pretty essential for a film in this genre to succeed. Unfortunately you can throw this one in the fire with the books.