• PG-13, 1 hr. 46 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Mark Herman
    In Theaters:
    Nov 7, 2008 Wide
    On DVD:
    Mar 10, 2009
  • Miramax

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) Reviews

Page 1 of 305
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

June 17, 2012
An oversimplification of the Holocaust, yes, as a very young German boy during WWll accidentally discovers exactly what his camp commandant dad does for a living, but to be forgiven its chosen naive viewpoint in respect to its chosen naive audience: a perfect film for schools.
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

June 8, 2012
An upper class German boy befriends a boy in a concentration camp.
Told from the perspective of a child, the foolishness of the adults in this story comes in stark relief, which is one of the film's strengths, especially considering all the films made on this subject. Good performances by Vera Farmiga and David Thewlis hammer home the film's point.
I did think that the conclusion was contrived and needed too much help from the protagonists' naivete in order for it to work.
Overall, this is a strong, unique film about the Holocaust.
Tyler R

Super Reviewer

April 2, 2012
If you've read my review for Pearl Harbor, then you'll know that I had a bad experience when my teacher showed a movie in a history class. Thankfully, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is different from Pearl Harbor. This movie was actually good, really good as a matter of fact. I had not seen the movie prior to watching it in my history class and I heard a lot of things about it:
"It's a really good movie."
"It's so sad!"
"I love this movie!"
"This movie sucks because there's no action."
That last comment was actually said by one of my friends, so clearly I have little faith in today's generation of movie-goers. To start, this movie got me hooked almost right away. Just from the opening scene I could tell that the little boy was going to go through some tough stuff. Asa Butterfield (Very interesting name) plays young Bruno and he did a really good job. David Thewlis and Vera Farmiga (two extremely underrated actors) play the mother and father and do a great job. I really liked how they showed how young children were brainwashed into thinking Jews were bad people. There's this one scene where the kids have a tutor and he's reading a bunch of crap about how Jews were responsible for the war. Seeing the guy I was thinking to myself "That guy is a dick but he represents what life was like back then." Overall it had great acting, a great plot, the friendship between Bruno and the Jewish prisoner was really well done and the ending actually almost had me crying. I won't spoil the ending but it's one of those things where when it happens, you just say "Oh my god, did that just happen?" Great movie though, I'd definately watch it again.
Josh M

Super Reviewer

December 8, 2011
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas would have been a masterpiece in another dimension. If the holocaust had never happened, and this was a movie about a fictional event, the excellence of the script, acting and cinematography would have made this a true classic. However, despite the noble intentions and talents of all its creative team this is an offensive, lamentable distortion of the truth.

Writer Director Mark Herman says that he wanted this film to be a good way to introduce the discussion of the Holocaust for children. It may be a good way to start a discussion for kids about racism, about loyalty, learning how to deal with flawed parents, and a million other things, but not THE holocaust.

Here are the two reasons why this is offensive:

a) Historical distortion -A story of a friendship across a fence between a Jewish kid on the concentration camp side, Shmuel, and his German friend Bruno, who is the child of the death camp's commandant, is UTTERLY false and impossible. Most kids were put to death quite early, and they did not live with adults.

b) Not respecting the intelligence of the characters - Did no one figure out what was happening? No one seems to be aware, in the wake of burning stinking ovens and rapidly disappearing people what is happening in the camp except the Commandant himself. This includes his sensitive and elegant wife and mother of Bruno, who only at the end realizes what is going on in the 'farm' that she can see out the window of her villa, and the people in the camp itself, who seem to think that all the missing people are actually missing, smokestacks and all.

c) Clearing everyone morally - Everyone, as Jean Renoir says, has their reasons, and we empathize with them all, from the ntisemitism he teaches the children like mother's milk, to the brutal murderous blonde young Nazi who is covering up for his dissenting father, to finally, the commandant, who looks conflicted and not entirely convincing when he says what 'important work he's doing for his country'.

I realize that Bernigni's 'Life is Beautiful' covers much the same territory, but it looked like a fable, was presented in its story telling tone and aesthetically in a stylized way, so no one would think for a second that this was how it really happened. '...Striped Pajamas' attempts to look real, like a slice of history, but it's a slice of grotesque fakery.

The cast is universally excellent, with the spectacular Vera Farmiga doing her usual intelligent and complex work, the kids Butterfield and Scanlon touch the heart with their honesty and open heartedness, as well as all the minor roles. To the film's credit, it has a wrenching, harrowing and surprisingly dark ending, unlike superior films like 'Schindler's List' which despite all it gets right, has an upbeat ending, which the holocaust did not have, certainly not for the survivors.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

December 2, 2008
Surprising and audacious film, from John Boyne's book of the same name, that does the Holocaust differently, telling about a particular (German) family making its name on the backs of the death camp's prisoners. Beautiful cinematography, great James Horner score and capable acting in a story that's a touch twee, but highly watchable.

SPOILER ALERT: This movie does its damage with the ending, read on only if you've read the book or don't mind knowing what's coming.

What's most important about this film is that in its final moment, it asks you to sympathize with its villain, the SS father who has inadvertently lost his son. It leaves you in a very conflicted place: no one would ever wish the death of a child on one's worst enemy, and yet, it's the only way that the man might learn.

Generally, I like an abrupt ending, especially when it's done to hammer home a point. In this case, however, I thought it would be interesting to see even a little sign that the father does (or doesn't) learn a lesson. It's hard to pull that off without breaking the illusion, or without getting preachy or needlessly sentimental, but the emotional journey for the father is just beginning, and it feels like he is being punished. I don't want to sympathize with the bad guy, but I would like to think (hope) that with his punishment would come redemption, some day. I guess that's a different story, though.

Still liked the film more than I didn't, and appreciate that it made me think about how to tell a story as difficult and politically charged as this one.
Sophie B

Super Reviewer

October 23, 2011
An amazing yet deeply saddening film. Brilliant acting and I have read the book and it stays pretty close but ends up better as on film you can create an atmosphere. Harrowing and scary to see what happened to those poor people, but even more terrifying is the fact that normal people who had families and led a relatively normal life (as well as you can through war) were at the helm of this monstrous extermination.
Alexander D

Super Reviewer

August 8, 2011
THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, based on the Irish novel of the same name by John Boyne, is all right, if not ultimately predictable. It is upsetting throughout the film, as is any other moving Holocaust tale, but there was one huge flaw in this production: on the title page of the source novel, there is a small subtitle that reads "A Fable". This film, sadly, did not seem that much of a fable to me when I watched it.
murphmann93
murphmann93

Super Reviewer

June 24, 2011
Powerful and heartbreaking! A must see!
DreamExtractor
DreamExtractor

Super Reviewer

June 20, 2011
This masterpiece of a movie can only described as one word, sad. The movie during the holocaust and is about a young boy who after he moves to another town because of his fathers promotion in the Nazi army, the boy discovers his fathers concentration camp. There he sits on the outside of the fence talking to a young Jewish boy on the inside, and two people who are supposed to be enemies become friends, but what happens in the end will test each ithers loyalty, trust, and ultimate friendship. I found the plot to be amazing, truly showing how a naive child would witness World War 2 and the Holocaust. The young actors are great and live up to the amazing acting of the adults. The horrors within this movie will haunt you for the rest of your life, it isn't my favorite Holocaust movie, but its up there with the best ever made.
CloudStrife84
CloudStrife84

Super Reviewer

January 14, 2011
World War II's greatest horror as seen from the eyes of an innocent child. Quite a riveting drama, with magnificent acting all-around. The subject is really nothing new, but it has a fresh-thinking approach on how it takes us through it's story. Placing focus on the children, and their reactions to the strange and unfathomable actions by the adults around them, is a brilliant concept that made the film all the more engaging. For authenticity's sake, I would have prefer a German cast over a British one, but I suppose you can't get everything. At any rate, however, this a beautifully executed motion picture, with many powerful and heart-rending moments. Be sure not to miss it, because it's one of the best of its kind.
Megan S

Super Reviewer

April 14, 2011
I really enjoyed this movie, a different take on the Holocaust, seen through a child's eyes. Now I want to read the book.
Kristijonas F

Super Reviewer

March 19, 2011
A harrowing film depicting the Holocaust in such a strange yet effective manner that its impact will likely haunt the viewer for a long time to come.
Nadira I

Super Reviewer

January 5, 2011
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is the type of movie that draws you in from the very first scene. While some movies about Holocaust shows us perspectives from the Jews, we could see it from the Germans from this movie. Asa Butterfield plays Bruno and brings out the innocent sense really well. This movie reminds me of "Life is beautiful". Probably one of the best movie that shows us how bad racism or holocaust could be and the innocence of children's friendship. It is also a movie that proves that children have a vey high curiousity and we should not prevent them to do what they wanted to do.
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

July 15, 2010
Many films have been filmed dwelling on the subject of the Holocaust. However none has ever been really filmed on the German side. But The Boy In The Striped Pajamas takes a look at a German family directly involved in this ghastly crime. Set during the Second World War, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas is one powerful film with a great cast. The story surrounds the family of an SS officer. The son of the SS officer discovers a "farm", not knowing it's a concentration camp. He asks about it, and he is told not to go there, ignoring this he goes anyways and befriends a Jewish Boy. The young son doesn't understand that the camp is to exterminate Jews and he doesn't understand the point of Nazism, because he is too young. Whats really interesting with the film is that it takes an unbiased view of the story instead of making the family the victims. I found that the film examine the naivity of a young boy, and he doesn't understand the full facts of the situation. The film is poignant, well acted and well directed. As the boys father commands the camp, he doesn't know that his son has struck up a friendship with another young boy on the other side of the fence. He doesn't understand why the prisoners wear "pajamas." One day the father of the boy behind the fence is missing, and Bruno (the German boy) agrees to help the Jewish Boy, Shmuel find hisdad. Bruno sneaks into the camp, and because he's dressed as a prisoner he is forced to walk into the gas chamber and he is gased to death. The film is is more a childs view of the Holocaust, as the main character Bruno doesn't quite understand what his dad is really doing in the camp. In fact his father is commandant of the nearby camp. The ending, as I have just described, is of course a sad one, but in a way it a necessary one. I very much viewed the ending as a form of karma for the family of the SS commandant. The ending was in way a means to bring upon the consequences of the Holocaust to the family as their son was now a casualty in the gas chambers. A hard ending, but also necessary. The cast of the film do a terrific job and the story is incredible, The Boy With The Striped Pajamas is a very different film about the Holocaust.
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

September 4, 2010
Oh my goodness. Warning! Warning! This movie will tear your heart out. I would recommend this movie to anyone, but it really should have a warning label....expect to cry at the end.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 8, 2010
I was worried at first that The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was going to be like a typical BBC dramatisation; posh accents, bad child actors and Sheila bloody Hancock. Thankfully the film finds its feet within about 15 minutes (in the nick of time) and the story, mood and pace are set. It is a thoughtful story, is filmed well and the acting is acceptable, it is the ending that really makes this film something special. Mark Herman didn't do a bad job, he certainly wouldn't have been my first choice of director and even though I enjoyed it and would recommend it, I can't help but think someone else could have adapted it and made a masterpiece. Still, like I said, I still recommend it!
sainttom93
sainttom93

Super Reviewer

August 26, 2010
What a fabulous movie -- It puts a really human face on the Holocaust -- But beware, a very sad ending!
Richard C

Super Reviewer

June 25, 2010
a really powerful, sad, great film with a really a great story that I highly recommend. A-
Brian D

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2009
A slow moving tale about a relationship between a Jewish boy in a Nazi camp and the son of the camp commandant,both 8 years old. This is set through the eyes of the German boy and he's innocent to what is going on around him. Acting is great and the two boys are fantastic.The story is a little slow but is worth your time.The ending was not expected and added to the shock and brutality that we all know about this subject but is portrait for younger viewers.
Is a film to be seen but i would advise viewing first but letting your children see it,just in case.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

October 11, 2008
Both a brilliant and extremely disturbing piece, told through the eyes of the innocent. Extreme beliefs and past horrific tales make this a truly believable story and the acting of the two boy characters, were so natural and endearing.

I fail to believe anyone who cannot find the raw emotion in this film.

A truly excellent tale of friendship ? I watched this film again straight after watching it for the first time, I just had to share it with someone.
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