Reviewed by: Jennifer L. Hanley—first time reviewer
stealing in the Bible
courage, bravery, self-sacrifice
value of written words / books
horrors of Nazi Germany
persecution and murder of Jews
protecting a Jewish refugee during World War II
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
Geoffrey Rush … Hans Hubermann
Emily Watson … Rosa Hubermann
Sophie Nélisse … Liesel Meminger
Ben Schnetzer … Max Vandenburg
Nico Liersch … Rudy Steiner
Sandra Nedeleff … Sarah
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Fox 2000 Pictures
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|Distributor||Twentieth Century Fox Film|
“Courage beyond words”
“Death” is the narrator of this movie and is the foreshadowing of things to come. A mother with her two young children have been abandoned by the husband/father and are on a train heading to Molching, Germany, a small town outside of Munich. The son, Werner, is sick and dies on the train trip. It is during WWII and times are very difficult in Nazi Germany.
Liesel, the daughter is left in the care of her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. The older couple are polar opposites in personalities. Hans (Papa) is an honorable, gentle, and sensitive soul. Rosa (Mama) on the other hand, is brash and abrasive, yet has a huge heart which is revealed throughout the movie. We follow Liesel as she makes her way through her new life and puberty during one of the most horrific times in history.
The movie is about the innocence of youth, as well as the travesties of war. Liesel is seen growing from an almost illiterate young girl, to a voracious book reading young woman. Her father Hans teaches her how to read. She goes on, in much later years, to be a prolific author at the encouragement of a young Jew and kindred spirit she befriends (Max), who the Hubermanns hide in their basement. Her life is full of love, which includes her devoted friend, Rudy, accordion music, words and books. And yet this same life is filled with hate, heartache and major loss due to the war.
Many selfless and heroic acts are done throughout this movie. The most significant one is when the Hubermanns (Hans, Rosa and Liesel) hide a young, Jewish man, Max, in their basement. He is very ill, and they take care of him and share their meager wares and food with him for two years. They are Germans living at a time when disobedience or disloyalty to Hitler is not tolerated. If they are found out, they will probably be killed. They show the same spirit of self-sacrifice that Christ showed on the cross.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Since this movie is about war, there is some violence, but there is very little blood and no gore. There is more blood shown in the scenes where there are children fist fighting after a fatal explosion. There are also scenes in which Jews are abused and beaten.
The only objectionable content, as far as sex goes, is that Rudy on numerous occasions asks Liesel for a kiss, and she does kiss him at the end. There is also racism portrayed against Jews and blacks.
Liesel also steals books in the movie and lies about it, hence the title, on three separate occasions. She is not punished for these crimes but rewarded by her father by keeping her secrets and reading the books with her.
There is some objectionable language. The father (Hans) takes the Lord’s name in vain. There is also quite a bit of name calling in the movie, although most of it (if not all) is in German. The most frequent names used are “saumensch” which means “literary pig woman,” “saukerl,” which means “dirty swine” and “arschloch” which means a… hole.
The father in one small scene, smokes cigarettes and drinks alcohol.
I really did like this movie. I thought the actors were very developed and believable. I also thought it was an accurate historic portrayal of Germany at that time.
I recommend that only teens and adults see this movie. The drama and the tragedy is very intense and may be difficult for a sensitive teen or adult to watch.
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
The narrator being Death may make one think that “He” is our final stop on our life journey. He says that he takes people’s souls, but fails to mention where he takes them.
Violence: Moderate to heavy / Profanity: Moderate—“My God,” OMG (3), “hell” (2) / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.