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December 19th, 2013

Movie Review - The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Starring: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Roger Allam, Emily Watson, Nico Liersch, Ben Schnetzer, and more.

Directed by: Brian Percival Novel Adaptation by: Michael Petroni Based on the Novel by: Markus Zusak Cinematography by: Florian Ballhaus Music by: John Williams

Premise: Death becomes intrigued by a young german girl called Liesel. So he narrates her story so we too can see why he found her so very interesting. We follow her life during the years leading up to and during World War II. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Sophie Nélisse made a very compelling Liesel. Her big, expressive eyes will charm just about anyone. Geoffrey Rush was fun as the laidback, mostly out of work, Hans. Emily Watson was even more fun as his dour, yet slowly defrosting wife. Nico Liersch glowed as Liesel's best friend Rudy.

2) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I've not read the book the movie is based on, so can add little from that perspective. I will say though that within a minute, the film had me enthralled. From the previews I'd seen, Death was never mentioned. So having him as the narrator of the story was very surprising, and quite intriguing. While the film would have been fine its own, having Death as the narrator, gave it just that extra bit of spice to make the experience that much more of a treat.

The pace was a little slow in places, but this was overridden by the fascinating look at a small German village and the ways their culture started changing, the peer pressure, the rising sense of fear in some, or ardent fervor in others as change took over the land. It's definitely a side of the war no one hears much about. The themes circled a lot around family - what it is to have it, and how to sometimes make your own. Even better were the hints of the depth in the people around you - the assumptions we made in those first few moments, yet by looking deeper, we find they're totally different, even more than we ever thought.

3) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: From the long stretch of snow covered fields, to the cozy and worn look of Heaven street, the locations for the film were outstanding. The cinematography, too, did much to enhance the experience with slow swooping passes down the streets and the occasional odd angle for a different point of view, almost as if what was being seen all came through Death's own eyes.

4) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The story used clothing to tell a lot of little things through what Liesel and others wore. Rosa dressed and acted quite dourly, and though her initial impression upon the audience is quite unfavorable, it was the little things that gave her away as someone who cared a lot. Liesel's clothes were always better than hers, better cared for and colorful than hers, but nothing too obvious. A lot like the kindnesses from the woman herself.

Conclusion: The Book Thief was an entertaining tale of an unusual time, narrated by the most unlikely of story tellers. Quite delightful. Shows what the power of words and books can mean to those who read.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price of Admission to See Again)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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