I recently re-watched the movie adaption of The Book Thief. If you're unfamiliar with The Book Thief, it's a wonderful coming of age novel by Markus Zusak, telling the story of a young German girl, Liesel during the height of the second world war.
The book came out in 2005 and was adapted for film in 2013. I only read the book a couple of months before the film was due to be released and I absolutely fell in love with it, and like any self respecting book nerd, was instantly worried that the film adaptation would massacre the simplistic beauty and inherent integrity of this wonderfully crafted book.
As you might be able to guess, since I have now seen the film more than once, I actually really enjoy the adaption. The movie does not accurately capture some of the more powerful aspects of the book. The narration by death doesn't come across nearly as strongly as it manages to in text, nor does the deep burden of grief in the latter part of the book.
Other things, the film represents in near perfect ways. The incredible sense of hope and joy in the face of abject horror is captured in a way that makes me rejoice for what humanity is capable of.
The casting is, in my eyes, near perfection. The only character I can pick fault with is Ben Schnetzer as Max and I'm not even sure what it is about him that doesn't sit well with me, I suppose he just wasn't the Max I had originally envisioned.
Geoffrey Rush as Hans, on the other hand, is everything I could have ever hoped for and then some. I am a little biased, being a fan of Rush in general, but his portrayal of Hans makes me nothing but happy. The moments when he is on screen are some of my favourites in the entire film.
Overall, The Book Thief has become a favourite adaptation of mine, one that doesn't hold quite as strong a place in my heart as the book does, but one that captures the essence of its source material and brings it to life in a way I think they would be hard pressed to improve upon.