Friday, November 8, 2013

movie review: The Book Thief

"I am haunted by humans..."

SO, I actually saw this film a week before it came out.
Can I get an amen for prescreenings? And a friend who offers you a free ticket to said prescreening and you're like "h to the -ella yeah, I'm so there"? ....amen.

My thoughts:
When a book is in your top 5 favorite books e.v.e.r. and you've been waiting eagerly, it's really hard not to be overly critical of the movie version. And trust me, the naysaying, nitpicking voice was going in my head the whole time. But not enough so that I didn't still really like the movie. Let's break it down in list format...

All the Yes

  • Rudy. Bless your heart, little yellow-haired, kind-eyed Rudy.
  • The aging of Leisel. I love that she sincerely looked like she aged a few years over the course of the movie...in terms of both looks and confidence. (And hair length, whaaaat.) That was extremely well reflected from the book to the screen.
  • OK, the casting in general. I honestly think every character was spot on. Leisel, Rudy, Hans, Rosa, Max. Totally winning the day on that front.
  • The relationships were particularly well portrayed. Leisel and Rudy, Leisel and Max, Leisel and Hans, Hans and Rosa. (The last is one of my favorites. So gruffly tender.)
  • The cinematography. I loved the panning shots of trains, Germany, the little town, etc. The entire film had an overall quaint charm to it that I found absolutely delicious. The book enthralls me in the same charming, haunting way.

All the No

  • The British narrator. He sounded almost...cheery? YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEATH INCARNATE, NARRATOR VOICE. I would have preferred we put Britain aside (the movie takes place in Germany, guys) and gone with something more like Death's voice from Meet Joe Black. (Speaking of favorite films, hot hooverdam that's a good movie.)
  • On the topic of narrator, if you're going to put SOME of the narrations in there, please do not skip my favorite line ever about Rudy. Please, just...do not do that. That absence broke my heart more than a little. #oversight #dubthatinplease
  • Making up an epilogue about the rest of Leisel's life. Must you do that? MUST YOU DO THAT. The scenario I imagined in my head involved a little more Max and a little less of whatever other fairytale you chose. Psssh. Turn that off and let my imagination take this one, por favor.
...no other major criticisms, actually. There were some minor plot variations here and there, but not enough that it bothered me. (Minus the one about Hans Hubermann not sitting up by Leisel's bed every night when she had nightmares. That was one of my most favorite details from the book.)

Final opinion?
You really honestly cannot beat the book both in terms of story and delivery. So, the movie is never going to live up to that standard because you can't have the same narrative style as the book does. Still, I'd say it's a movie definitely worth seeing. The more days that pass since I saw it last week, the more I want to see it again. So, that's saying something! And if you haven't read the book, be prepared to have your heart stepped on a little.

And finally, because I can: "He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It's his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry."

Did you see it? Thoughts? Opinions? Haikus?

p.s. I must apologize for my lack of Ender's Game review. I saw it opening night, and then I slacked on writing the review, and now I feel the time has passed. I'll just say: from one avid lover of the book, it's worth seeing at least once. Fun film. Stays pretty true to the book.

3 comments:

Camille Millecam Whiting said...

I can't wait to bawl through this- cheeky narrator or no!

Autumn @ The Unreal Life said...

Ooooo I'm excited you did this. It's been ages since I read that book, so I think that I'll be less likely to be able to compare the movie and book. And I know exactly what you mean about the Joe Black narrator...perfect pick, duh.

Stephanie said...

It is hands down my favorite book, and I thought they did a good job with the movie, but there were some passages I wish they would have included. But Rudy, oh Rudy. Loved seeing him come to life.