The Book Thief is almost as good as a film as it is as a novel – and that is really saying something. I read the Book Thief in high school and it has stuck with me ever since. When I heard that a film version was coming to theaters I was incredibly excited, and a bit nervous. Would director Brian Percival and screenwriter Michael Petroni be able to capture the creative and bizarre voice of Markus Zusak’s novel? Yes, as well as you could possibly hope for.
In an adaptation that I hope gets an Oscar nod, if not win, for adapted screenplay, Percival brings the story of Liesel Meminger (Sophie Néliesse), the Book Thief, and her life in Nazi Germany. Strangely uplifting for a story narrated by death itself, the book shows us a slice of history we don’t often see — Germans coping with the Nazi regime and doing so with wit, grace, and heart.
Everything about this film is a masterpiece. The extraordinary acting, the fluid cinematography, the authentic sets and costumes, and the dramatic lighting come together to produce a film that is well worth its namesake novel.