The Book Thief

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canadian_turtle
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The Book Thief

#1 Post by canadian_turtle » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:47 pm

I went to a preview screening of this tonight at Framestore which I expected to be a publishing event but turned out to be a press screening (I think... we all had to sign in and the people above us on the list were from the BBC and The Guardian), no idea how the book's publisher ended up with a few tickets or why they passed them on to bloggers but I'm not complaining :) I've heard nothing but raving reviews of the book for years now but when I picked it up myself last year I only read a few chapters before I turned to my next read as it was quite hard to get through. So I wasn't sure what to expect from the film, would it be as amazing as many people have said the book is or is it going to be tough-going?

I had no problems at all getting sucked into the world of Liesl just before and during the second world war in Germany. The movie is stunning, atmospheric and seems very authentic. It's a story told many times before, even through the eyes of a child, but that doesn't make it any less harrowing. Sophie Nélisse, the young girl who plays Liesl, was fantastic and really managed to carry the film and her innocence provided some much-needed light-heartedness to what otherwise could've been a consistently devastating story. Also special mention to Ben Schnetzer (Max) who perhaps doesn't have the largest speaking role within the film, but his haunting appearance certainly left an impression on me. Both Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson were amazing as well, but then I expected nothing less from them.

This is very much a film of two halves (even if the second half is a lot shorter) and I'm still trying to process the full story. It's definitely been an advantage that I haven't read the novel before seeing the film as the impact would've been significantly less has I known everything that would happen. Overall, it wasn't amazing-amazing, but still incredibly beautiful and poignant. Bring tissues - 8/10

P.S. I spilled red wine all over my linen tote bag at the screening, any advice on what is the best way to (try to) clean it?

P.P.S. Just remembered my one major gripe with this film: the language. Language plays an important part, the written kind at least, but it's so annoying that sometimes they speak German with subtitles and text is in German and at other times they speak English with a German accent and the text in books is in English. Make up your mind already! I would much prefer the entire film was German but I do understand that to mass-market it to an American/British audience they choose English instead (even if I don't agree with this personally). Either way, just pick one!
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Re: The Book Thief

#2 Post by neechofish » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:07 pm

I thought this was beautifully done. I also have not read the book so the story was new to me. There were four in our group and everyone loved it. I agree with op regarding the language, it did annoy me slightly, I feel I would have been just as drawn in if it was german speaking and subtitled. However, I find the german language quite harsh to listen to and I may have missed some of the tender moments visually with subtitles. I did thoroughly enjoy the film.

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Re: The Book Thief

#3 Post by fryster » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:15 pm

Just got back from watching this, thought it was superb! Thought all the actors/actresses were really good, and the youngsters were brilliant. My only gripe would be the voice over, I couldn't stop thinking about the film Ted every time there was a part with it in. 9/10
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Re: The Book Thief

#4 Post by steve9872 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:18 pm

I kept thinking that the voice over was the voice of the book "HHGTTG".
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Re: The Book Thief

#5 Post by gmw80 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:24 pm

Just back from this 4 in our group including my 11 year old daughter. None of us have read the book and we all loved the film. Was really well done and the young actress is amazing. The language didn't bother me and I felt it added to the movie. Such a moving film no idea how there could be a dry eye in the house!

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Re: The Book Thief

#6 Post by Beate » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:39 pm

Oh my God. I am in bits. And to think I nearly missed it as I only got last-minute tickets and then OH got dropped off a full hour late from Day Centre! We only had half an hour to get to the Odeon Greenwich but we did not only manage it but were the first to start the queue! Bit irritating to see how a film I tried to get tickets to for ages was only half full - though we did have quite a few latecomers.

I had a feeling I would like this but it really is a wonderful film. All the actors are astounding, especially the children. I do agree though with others that the voiceover creeped me out (I thought I was in the wrong film at first), and the mix of languages and heavily German-accented English was very annoying. "Zis is the house of the Buergermeister." Why can't you say "This is the mayor's house"? Why was some dialogue in German, others in English and why was some German subtitled while others wasn't? I understood the German of course but that's beside the point. And one moment she picks a German book from the library, says the title in English and the next minute the book she is reading is in English. The frequent use of "Saukerl" and "Saumensch" (swear words than can be used jokingly) was supposed to be endearing but I just found it irritating.

Still, it is very atmospheric and looks otherwise very authentic. It's quite a gentle film but you get a lump in the throat a few times, including the ending. It really is true - books can keep you alive and they give you humanity.

9/10
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Re: The Book Thief

#7 Post by yogi » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:41 pm

fryster wrote:Just got back from watching this, thought it was superb! Thought all the actors/actresses were really good, and the youngsters were brilliant. My only gripe would be the voice over, I couldn't stop thinking about the film Ted every time there was a part with it in. 9/10
I thought of Ted as well from the first shot with the clouds and then kept trying to place the voice every time it came back.

The movie was pretty good, well made and well acted, the interplay between Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson was especially good, and the young lead actress was superb.

It didn't blow me away though, the idea of viewing the horrors of war through a child's eyes isn't new having been done very well before in Life is Beautiful and Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas and I don't think this was quite at that level.

Very watchable though and due to the shortage of films at the moment certainly not one to miss 7/10
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Re: The Book Thief

#8 Post by Diane65 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:41 pm

Just superb on every level. If anyone has the opportunity to go to Berlin go on the free Sandemanns walking tour where along with a brilliant insight into the history of the city you will all be taken to see the memorial of the burnt books which after watching this film will be even more poignant plus a visit to Haarlem to see Corrie Ten Boom's house it really does make me appreciate how wonderful this film was. 10/10
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Re: The Book Thief

#9 Post by RAZORBACK » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:48 pm

Unfortunately I wasn't all that impressed with this, couldn't really connect with any of the characters and thought the story was slow, drawn out and ever so slightly dull.

Not a terrible film by any means but it didn't do enough to deserve anything more than a 6/10 from me...
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Re: The Book Thief

#10 Post by stuartboy » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:50 pm

Beautiful - if a film about such a provocative subject could be so. Totally involving and captivating. Really makes you feel as if you were there and a part of the action - so much so that even hearing an announcement that "We are at war with England" doesn't sound alien or foreign.
I also felt that voice over - from the very begining - sounded supernatural (well I know it WAS!) but this was a classic period drama and didn't need scenes of clouds and an omnipresent booming voice - even if it was just a device to set the scene ie. narrator.

Yes the wee girl was brilliant but I thought The Boy With The Yellow Hair stole the show. Go Rudi!

Unfortunately this film was ruined for me by my having to endure a collapsed seat where the front of the base was actually touching the floor making it incline forwards. I have never spent a more uncomfortable 2 hours. I did make a complaint afterwards and said that it was not as if I could have moved seats as it was almost full, only to be told that it was a 240 seat cinema and there were only 120 in. I couldn't see many spare seats - in the dark - and moving away from my +1 (mother dearest). I finally got a semblence of an apology and when pressed further...a voucher. I should bloody well think so.

Much thanks to marjareen's mum and Heather for ply me and Mum with sweets. Hope my constant writhing and wriggling didn't put you off, marjareen. It was an endurance!

Back to the film - an easy 9/10. Well worth the 2 month wait!
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