Book to big screen: “The Book Thief”

Courtesy of Twitter

Skylar Sharkey

You’ve spent weeks anticipating your favorite book’s movie adaptation. You’ve obsessed over the cast, meticulously examined the soundtrack, and poured over the fan theories. You’ve cleared your schedule to ensure you’re available to see your favorite characters come to life on the big screen. You’ve planned every detail down to the showtime and the seat number. You’re anticipating a masterpiece. 

And it’s an absolute failure. 

Us book lovers have all experienced the disappointment that comes with a terrible book to movie adaptation. Our hopes are crushed, our dreams shattered. Let me save you some time. 

I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve watched a lot of movies. I haven’t seen everything, but I have a fairly large repertoire of worthwhile adaptations. 

Both the book and the movie “The Book Thief” will live up to your high expectations. “The Book Thief” movie was directed by Brian Percival and released Nov. 8, 2013, but the book was originally written by Markus Zusaka and released in 2005. 

“The Book Thief” follows the story of a young orphan, Liesel, living in Nazi Germany. After the death of her younger brother, Liesel is left with foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Though Liesel isn’t fond of them at first, Hans eventually wins her over by attempting to teach Liesel how to read. Unknowingly, Hans has sparked a deep passion for literature in Leisel. 

As Liesel begins to grow comfortable in the small town of Molching, Germany, the political climate throughout the country grows dire as World War ll escalates. Hans and Rosa agree to take in a Jew named Max to keep him from being taken to the concentration camps. Max and Liesel’s friendship deepens over a period of months, but eventually, the war threatens to rip apart the family Liesel’s created for herself. 

This suspenseful adaptation is definitely a tear-jerker, especially due to incredible performances by the young actors, such as Sophie Nélisse, who plays Liesel. Despite the heavy themes present throughout the book and the movie, readers and audiences alike can expect comic relief sprinkled throughout, which is mostly provided by Leisel’s best friend Rudy (played by Nico Liersch), who has a dangerous fascination with Jesse Owens, the African-American Olympic runner. 

Despite the darkness that was so present throughout the World War ll era, “The Book Thief” is surprisingly hopeful. Each character is touched by the war in a specific unique way and viewers will be pleased with the diverse range of characters in both the book and the movie. 

The cinematography of “The Book Thief” is fantastic and wholly reflects the imagery of Zusaka’s masterpiece. Each character is cast perfectly and the differences between the book and the movie are fairly minuscule.  

The one drawback of this production is that it does not depict the starvation suffering that was so present throughout the book. The actors appear to look healthy and cared for despite how so many families went without food during Hitler’s reign. 

Overall, “The Book Thief” is fantastic whether you choose to read the book or watch the movie.