Grade School Spotlight: The Book Thief reviews from 6-GEMS

From reading a book that’s part of their summer list to viewing it as a full-length feature film adaptation, the Grade 6 English GEMS Class had a chance to share their thoughts about Book Thief. The story, narrated by Death, is set in Germany during the Second World War. Directed by Brian Percival, the film is based on the widely acclaimed novel of the same name written by Markus Zusak.

Read two of the best reviews below and you might be convinced to see the film yourself!

A Review by Rafael So

Have you ever watched a movie so grim and dramatic that you immediately think there’s no way it could even exist?

If not, then here’s a movie that just might reach those standards. The Book Thief is a dramatic story that would make you wonder about a great many things. The only way to find out what those things are is by watching the movie or reading the book.

The story has Death narrating the beginning, the middle, and the end. After Death’s introduction, we find ourselves in the icy dead of winter, on a train heading for Germany. It was the Holocaust, remembered by many as a time of grief and despair. Here, we meet a girl who intrigues Death. Her name is Liesel Meminger, and her life is about to become much more interesting than it already is.

Has there ever been a time when you missed something or someone so much that you actually cried about it? Liesel definitely would have understood that feeling. In her new home, all she could think about was her mother and her brother, and how much she missed them both. Oh, what she would have given and done to see them one last time! Thankfully, not all in her life is a misfortune. She experiences many memorable and joyful experiences as well. She meets many incredible people, each appealing (and appalling) to her in a completely unique and different way. Besides the great people she finds in her new home, she also discovers her love for reading. However, this newfound love brings her to mischief and crime. But when she settles in with the people in her new home, she is finally happy in her new life. However, once more misfortune finds her, and she loses almost everything she has ever loved and learned to love on the way.

The Book Thief is a wonderful story with many plot twists. It is made up of many small stories pieced together to make one amazing plot. Complicated as it may be, once you figure out where the storyline is going, understanding the main idea becomes much easier. In my opinion, this story is quite a grim affair. When things start to look up and actually seem to start becoming positive, everything turns back into something you would find next to someone’s dead body at a morgue. (A morgue is a place where people keep dead bodies.) The few scenes that make the story even the slightest bit bearable are countered by misfortunes all throughout. I’m not implying that The Book Thief is something people shouldn’t watch; all I’m saying is that this movie is not for the weak-hearted. Note this: You have been warned, weak-hearted people.

This movie (sadly) was missing a few details that made the book extremely interesting and understandable. The movie is a little bit difficult to understand if you have not read the book yet. This is because the book contains many important details, like backstories, which allow the readers to appreciate the characters more. These backstories also let the readers understand the reasons behind many of the characters’ actions and decisions .

(Important words of advice: read the book before watching the movie.)

Anyway, all in all, The Book Thief (both the book and the movie) is a highly interesting tale, with plenty of conflict, drama, and adventure. Just a little bit on the rough side when it comes to understanding it, though, even if you have already read the book. I would definitely recommend this movie (and book) to people who could handle something extremely dramatic and grim. If you skipped to this point, go back and read the entire review. Just do it.

Now, disregard much of what I said throughout the entire review. After all, the choice to watch the movie is yours, isn’t it? Wow, you’re still reading this. I’d expected that by now, you’d already be watching the movie. Well, get your face away from this screen, and watch (and read) The Book Thief! Just don’t become one, though. Good luck, bye!

A Review by Kevin Bernardo

Life during World War II was extremely difficult. Racism, persecution, and other horrible things came in the form of Hitler’s laws, along with the tanks and bombs. But some chose to disobey such horrible discrimination. That was the case for Liesel Meminger, a young girl who moves to a place called Heaven Street, in Germany. Her brother had passed away on the way there, but life on Heaven Street is calm and peaceful for a young, generous girl like her. But just as she starts to adjust – even gaining a boy named Rudy as a friend – her life is threatened. Her foster parents decide to hide a Jew in their basement, an extremely risky and even deadly act during that time due to Hitler. As Liesel struggles to conceal the Jew, Max, she befriends him. But when the bombs come, threatening Liesel, Max, and the others, it becomes a matter of life and death for them. Will they survive?

The Book Thief is an extraordinary movie for the following reasons: the partly German-spoken dialogue captures the setting perfectly, while still making the general meaning of the dialogue understandable to English speakers. An example is the word Saukerl, which is implied as calling someone a lazy pig. The desires of the characters, such as Rudy liking Liesel, sets the plot in motion and leads to major events that drive the plot forward. Max being part of a race that was hated at the time also makes the movie pretty intense and has viewers waiting in anxiety for his survival. Even Death, a character who sometimes narrates the story, makes the movie more interesting with his deep lines and his voice that did not make him sound too creepy. Not to mention, the plot is filled with twists and just makes it even more intense. Overall, The Book Thief is a wholesome movie with twists and turns that leave the audience shocked.

The Book Thief is exceptionally informative of our world history, World War II, and the traditions in the past, and captures Hitler and the Nazis perfectly. That being said, the movie is actually also quite funny. It teaches many lessons, such as friendship, trust, and antiracism. I would definitely recommend this to people who are 11-13 years old and who would like to see examples of fighting against racism and discrimination. I say this because it’s just a bit mature, not for the clearly young (6 and below to 9), but it’s alright for kids who are just a bit older. It also shows the injustices done to Jews during Hitler’s cruel reign. The Book Thief features several themes and features a lot of twists and turns that I think everyone would be excited for. How the movie goes – well, that’s for you to watch.

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