Book Thief Themes

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The 2013 film The Book Thief directed by Brian Percival is based Markus Zusak’s 2005 novel. The film, set during World War II in Germany, follows the story of 11-year-old Liesel Memminger. Liesel’s mother is forced to give up Liesel for adoption because she is a Communist and Liesel then goes to live with her adoptive parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann in Molching, Germany. On the train ride to her new parents’ house, Liesel’s younger brother Werner passes away. This is when we become aware of the narrator of the film, who is Death. It is also when Liesel steals her first book, which will be one of the main themes of the film. I enjoyed the film because I was fascinated with the characters and how they found strength, courage and friendship in difficult circumstances. I also found this film to be very powerful and thought provoking, as it challenged our pre-conceptions of Germany during World War II, Death and on humanity itself.

When Liesel reaches Molching, she feels lonely and misses her
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It is a film about courage in adversity and friendship. The audience is engaged the entire film and as the film is from the perspective of a German family, who are normally considered the enemy in films about World War II, it is interesting to see the war from their perspective. The film brought up the topic of man’s inhumanity and what we are willing to do to each other if given the chance. Through the personal and empathetic connections we make with the characters, we (the audience) reflect on actions (although less major than dropping bombs) even if minor which have hurt or effected people negatively. I would recommend this film to people of all ages who have felt out of place at some point in their lives when they have moved to a new environment and people who would like to look at war and death from a different
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