top of page

Movie Review | The Book Thief [2013]

'I make it a policy to avoid the living. I don't know what it was about Liesel, but she caught me...and I cared.' This opening line by Death, the narrator in The Book Thief, introduces us to 11 year old Liesel, sent to live with Hans and Rose, foster parents in Nazi Germany during WWII. Based on the book by Markus Zusak, the Book Thief is a haunting and heart-breaking historical drama.

Hans teaches the illiterate Liesel to read and write and this love for reading and writing is further fostered by Max, a Jew being hidden in Hans and Rose's basement where he tells her that 'words are life.'

Aspects of humanity such as self-sacrifice, loving your neighbour, compassion and friendship are simply portrayed in the movie. From a philosophical point of view, deep ethical issues are raised.

'It's always been the same. The excitement and rush to war. I met so many young men over the years who have thought they were running at their enemy, when the truth was, they were running to me.' [Death]

The Book Thief is a movie about living within the parameters of war. It captures the innocence of youth played out amid the horrors of war. This is seen in the beautiful friendship between Liesel and Rudy. 'In my job, I'm always seeing humans at their best, and their worst. I see their ugliness, and their beauty. And I wonder how the same thing can be both.' [Death]



bottom of page