Poignant tale in ‘The Book Thief’

Sophie N�lisse and Geoffrey Rush in 'The Book Thief'.
Sophie N�lisse and Geoffrey Rush in 'The Book Thief'.

Death haunts every frame of Brian Percival’s wartime drama, beautifully crafted story of courage and determination during the Second World War.

As tensions escalate across Europe, Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nelisse) is taken in by foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson). With encouragement from Hans, she learns to read and develops a voracious appetite for books, sated by the mayor’s wife Ilsa (Barbara Auer), who owns a vast library, much of which would probably fall victim to one of the Nazis’ book-burning ceremonies. Liesel hides these visits from everyone, including her friend Rudy Steiner (Nico Liersch), who has enrolled in the Hitler Youth.

When Jewish refugee Max Vandenburg (Ben Schnetzer), arrives at the Hubermanns’ home they offer him shelter in the basement and Liesel becomes complicit in his concealment. But when school bully Franz Deutscher (Levin Liam) overhears Liesel confessing her secret to Rudy, it seems Max’s fate is sealed.

‘The Book Thief’ is a handsome and poignant drama that compels us to care about its courageous heroine as she risks her life to protect the people she loves.