.

The Book Thief

Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse

Directed by Brian Percival
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
November 7, 2013

If there can be such a thing as a sweet, reflective fable about death and the Holocaust, The Book Thief is it. Based on the bestseller by Markus Zusak, the film tells the story of Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nélisse), a young girl left in the care of foster parents Hans Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush) and his strict laundress wife, Rosa (Emily Watson). It’s gentle Hans who teaches the illiterate Liesel how to read. Since the story is set in Nazi Germany, you can see what’s coming when good Christian Hans takes in Max Vandenburg (Ben Schnetzer), a Jewish boy whose father saved Hans during World War I. Hidden in the basement (a distinct allusion to Anne Frank’s attic), Max is read to by Liesel, who steals books from the library of a local bürgermeister. A bond grows, and some valuable and scary life lessons are learned.

The simplicity of Michael Petroni’s script seems a drawback at first. But skilled director Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) slowly, effectively tightens the vise as evil intrudes into the life of this child. Rush, an actor of unerring grace and grit, gives a touching, vital performance. He doesn’t shout. Neither does the film. Its grieving heart is never in question.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Bleeding Love”

    Leona Lewis | 2007

    In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com