Are you looking forward to seeing The Book Thief become a film?

What can we expect when one of our beloved books arrives on the big screen? The Book Thief opens this week in New York City and by the end of the month the film will be playing in Detroit.

Since it was published in 2005, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak has become a classic. It is an imaginative and creative telling of the power of reading in a dangerous time. The narrator of the story is Death. The heroine is a spirited young girl named Liesel. She lives in Germany during World War II. The book has been deeply enjoyed by many. It stands up to multiple reads.


Some advance information makes the film sound promising. John William’s score has been almost universally praised. We can have high hopes in that department. The film is directed by Brian Percival who directed many episodes of Downton Abbey. I loved Downton! Many reviewers have praised the performances by Sophie Nelisse as Liesel, and Geoffrey Rush as Hans Hubermann. The movie was filmed in Berlin, and I hope that means that it is visually authentic. Some have called it a compassionate film. I’m a fan of compassion, and if that is what the film delivers, I’ll be pleased.

On the other hand, I’ll not get my hopes too high. In the trailer Liesel’s hair is beautiful and books burn, but little else raised expectations. Apparently, the film is opening to mixed reviews. That may give all of us much to talk about. The New York Times was less than enthusiastic. No review I’ve read gave high praise. The fresh-faced beauty of the young actors as seen in still photos gives me pause. Will the movie be fantasy rather than reality? What will we see of war, deprivation, love, and courage?


Also on my mind. I loved the character Rudy in the book. How will he fair in the movie? It may be that the movie-makers got hung up on whether this was a movie for children or adults? But, if reading and writing are shown to be more important to humanity than fear and war, I know I’ll be applauding!

Children survive because of their resiliency and the adults that care about them. I hope we see that. I hope we see that the written word is valued. That’s what I expect this movie to deliver in a believable way. If it does that, I can’t wait to enjoy it.

Oh, and one more thing. I wonder who will voice Death?

If you see the movie, let us know what you think!


  1. Karen Kozian

    I, too, am anxious to see the movie and will let you know what I think of it. Loved the book and our Florida book club discussion.


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