I have many regrets. I read The Book Thief ages ago, and have forgotten most of the details, but I remember loving it, and I remember the big hook — it’s narrated by Death. This worked excellently in the novel. It was a fun voice, and gave the novel a very broad scope. It let the reader learn the backstories and inner life of a fairly large number of characters. It brought something unexpected to the story of a orphan girl living in Germany in World War Two.
All of the things I loved about the book were reasons why I didn’t think it would make a very good movie. I skipped it when it came out, and had mostly forgotten the movie existed. Then my mother read it a couple weeks ago, and we got curious. I checked it out from the library to give it a try.
Like I said, many regrets.
It is not a good movie. It is not a terrible movie. It is watchable. It’s just dreadfully boring. It’s just over two hours long, but it felt longer. Death still narrates, here providing a voiceover that comes across as trite and lazy. The spark is gone. I had forgotten enough of the book that there were surprises, but they didn’t feel surprising. I remember the book being fun, despite the heavy topic, and the movie misses that. Skip it. Go read the book instead.