The Book Thief Reviews

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Richard Haridy
May 5, 2014
Ultimately not much more complex than the moment in which two children yell "I hate Hitler" across a lake, it imparts the message that Nazis are bad, books are good, and Geoffrey Rush would make a great dad even in WWII Germany
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
John Beifuss
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
March 24, 2014
This extremely moving drama suggests the Holocaust story Ray Bradbury might have written: Events are seen through a child's eyes; books are shown to contain a healing, transformative power; and the supernatural is real, if symbolic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Eric Melin
March 22, 2014
Zusak's story is stirring, and it holds the film up during most of its predictable parts, but The Book Thief never rises too far above that. The narration from Death only serves to make it more like some sort of fantastical fairy tale.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Stefan Pape
March 10, 2014
Regrettably this poignant and profound story, does not feel very poignant nor profound at all.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Jason Best
Movie Talk
March 8, 2014
Showing tragic events through a child's eyes can be a powerful storytelling strategy, but there's something altogether too cosy and bland about Downton Abbey director Brian Percival's handling of the material here.
Aine O'Connor
Irish Independent
March 7, 2014
Tthe film sees Nelisse give a wonderful performance; indeed, the performances are all round good, but the film lacks emotional depth.
Mark Kermode
Observer [UK]
March 2, 2014
Tries to blend heartwarming moral observation with ill-fitting metaphysical contrivance.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Geoffrey Macnab
February 28, 2014
The film-making style seems disconcertingly glossy given the downbeat themes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Donald Clarke
Irish Times
February 28, 2014
The Book Thief must be accounted a failure: even Downton fans will find the rampant cosiness just a little hard to bear.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Charlotte O'Sullivan
This is London
February 28, 2014
It's certainly pretty to look at, reminiscent of those Disneyland parades where horses are much in evidence, but their excrement (thanks to neat little sacks attached to the creatures' nether regions) never soils the ground.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Peter Bradshaw
February 28, 2014
It's a worryingly lenient and obtuse approach to history and historical evil, which are smothered in feelgood tragi-sentimental slush.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Brian Viner
Daily Mail [UK]
February 27, 2014
It looks marvellous: browns, beiges and greys setting off the startling red of the ubiquitous swastikas. But there is no real feeling for the catastrophe that is gathering pace in the background.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Deborah Ross
The Spectator
February 27, 2014
What is The Book Thief saying? Unknown. I can't even tell you what its intentions are, or whom it is intended for, only that it lacks even a whiff of emotional heft.
Nigel Andrews
Financial Times
February 27, 2014
Since the story is essentially Anne Frank re-gendered, why bother at all?
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Robbie Collin
Daily Telegraph
February 27, 2014
[Percival] certainly makes everything look pretty, although neither he nor Michael Petroni, who wrote the script, seem able to give the story a sense of momentum or tension, or even locate it in a world that's recognisably real.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Rich Cline
February 27, 2014
While there's a strong story in here about the power of literature and the fragility of life, this movie takes a far too wistful approach, so it feels like a cheesy bedtime yarn rather than a look at horrors of Nazi Germany
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Matthew Thrift
Little White Lies
February 27, 2014
A frank and adventurous portrayal of love in the margins.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Henry Fitzherbert
Daily Express
February 27, 2014
The performances are admirable and engaging but the story is short on drama and emotional impact.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Rob Daniel
Sky Movies
February 27, 2014
A little more darkness and a little less gloss may have better served the story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Matthew Turner
February 26, 2014
Ultimately something of a disappointment, thanks to sluggish direction, a curiously uneventful screenplay, a general lack of suspense and a surfeit of forced sentimentality.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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