Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Not A Film Critic | "The Book Thief"

*spoilers and things that may make you cry ahead* 
You have been warned.

Movie Poster
Before you start reading, I recommend turning on this soundtrack. 

Just finished watching "The Book Thief" and I can say that it stole my heart. I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch the film given that I have not read the book. However, coming across the trailer today really made me eager to watch it. I couldn't wait until I've finished the book. 

 Despite what a lot of reviews said, I think it was an incredible film - honest, moving, with a painful twist. Being a semi history nerd, I always love a good war story. We often see films and stories regarding World War II talking about Nazi atrocities, yet we are much less exposed to how ordinary German people's lives were changed as a result of war. I think the film did a good job presenting the conditions normal people lived in back then and the raw emotions and relationships they had.

The film allows us to experience the final years of the second world war through a young girl's eyes. Although being forced to leave her biological mother, Liesel was a very fortunate girl who had met a gentle yet brave foster father, a sharp-tongued yet kind-hearted foster mother, and a warm and affectionate young boy named Rudy.

Hans and Liesel
"As for Hans, his soul was lighter than a child's. I felt his itch for one last tune on his accordion... and heard his final thought, 'Liesel'."

Rudy and Liesel

"I'm not ready. I want to grow up before I die."
Imagine how many young soldiers has this thought cross their mind.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say my heart broke at the end when they found Rudy's body. Truth is I was a little heartbroken every time Rudy spoke.. He fell in love with Liesel the moment he saw her, I mean, does that even exist in today's day and age? Anyway, getting off topic... Markus Zusak (author of the book) describes Rudy to have "bony legs, sharp teeth, gangly blue eyes, and hair the color of a lemon". Without reading the book, that was my first thought when I saw the character appear in the film - thus, props to the casting committee. I think in some ways, we all want a Rudy in our life. Someone who is passionate, brave, and honest, someone who does not discriminate, someone with a big heart, and someone who is always there for us.

Death's narration was on point, especially the last bit. "I wanted to tell the book thief she was one of the few souls that made me wonder what it was to live. But in the end, there were no words. Only peace. The only truth I truly know is that I am haunted by humans."

Overall, it was a story with bits of heartwarming-ness and loads of poignancy, though I thought the film could have included more back story of WWII.

While I agree that there was not much complexity in the film, I was truly touched by this film nonetheless. In its own ways, the film demonstrated how someone's life can change from unfortunate to fortunate; how the war can take everything and everyone we love from us; and how we as humans can get lost in the world of words, live Liesel did.

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