I have always been fascinated by stories of World War II. The state of the world leading up to and during that war is not a world that I can fathom, nor can I fathom the actions of the Nazis. The stories of survival during this war are compelling and heartbreaking. Films set in this time period have drawn me in and the latest story to hit the screen is the adaptation of the bestselling novel, The Book Thief.
Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) is a young girl in World War II that is sent to live with adoptive parents when her mother, a communist, feels she is in danger. In her new home, Liesel learns to read from her new father (Geoffrey Rush) and finds solace in books that she steals from the remains of Nazi burned book piles. When a Jewish refugee and friend of the family is taken in and sheltered in Liesels home, Leisel befriends him and begins to learn more about humanity, friendship and evil.
Like the best of stories from books adapted into films, The Book Thief itself feels like a good book. It is a rich story of genuine feeling characters that capture your heart and imagination from the first scenes. Sophie Nélisse in particular is just amazing in this, she has a face that just radiates off the screen and eyes you can’t look away from. While all the supporting performances are excellent, the other real stand out is Geoffrey Rush in what may be his best performance in years. As the caring and gentle Hans Hubermann, he brings the moral heart to the film and becomes Liesels compass through life. The Book Thief is a great film to introduce younger viewers to the history of World War II and give them a story they can connect with and look up to. A beautiful film.
The Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a stunner. With gorgeous European backdrops, the picture is crystal clear with great color and detail. The soundtrack is very active in the surround channels with a full clear sound field. A top notch disc for an excellent film. Highly recommended.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.