Book Club Goes To See The Book Thief: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

So you all saw that book club read The Book Thief this past month right? We made a date to go see The Book Thief together and I’d love to tell you our thoughts on the movie!

20131207-193639.jpgThe girls holding up their Book Thief survival kits before the movie

We were a little nervous, as most book nerds are, about it being made from book to movie. At least for myself and Ellie, it was a book that had been an all time favorite for years and rereading just confirmed that for us.

So pretty much that movie had a LOT to live up to. I SOBBED during the books so in preparation for the movie I put together The Book Thief survival kits for everyone:


Tissues for your feels + chocolate (these crazy good Lindt chocolates) to help your heart

Overall feelings:

Thought it was done really well! Obviously not as good as the book but they did NOT butcher it so that made me very pleased! Wasn’t perfect but mostly positive feelings abound!

FEELS Factor:

I sobbed like crazy. Seriously I even made those little choking noises at one point. I’m pretty sure the other girls cried too or at least teared up. SORRY I COULDN’T SEE BECAUSE MY EYES WERE LEAKING PROFUSELY.

The one thing we talked about (and I also talked about with Kelly after she saw the movie) was that I’m not sure if the movie hits all the emotional punches as much as the book. I wondered, as did Kelly, if it was more the fact we had all the BOOK FEELS and it made us cry harder during the movie because everything meant way more to us and we had spent even more time with these characters in the book. So, while I did think some of it was very emotional on its own, I do think my reading and then seeing it happen on the screen made it way more emotional. I was already attached to the characters before the movie started.

The Good

– Overall it was a really good adaptation. It included Death as I hoped as a narrator of sorts. It stayed decently true to the book and had some really poignant scenes that I’d hoped for.

– Loved the cinematography — it just had this certain kind of mood that was perfect but it was pretty simple.

– Papa: OMG they could not have casted Papa any better. That casting was crucial for most of us (myself for sure!) and they made me fall in love with Papa all over again. Seriously. I love him. He was perfect. I LOVE YOU GEOFFREY RUSH!

– Mama: We were very nervous about the casting of Mama because she’s such a complex character because they needed to get how harsh she was but also that softness about her. It’s a difficult balance and based on the trailer I wasn’t sure if they had it but we all really thought Mama was well played and I think it made me love her as well.

–  Rudy was the cutest ever!!!!

– The friendship between Max and Liesel was really portrayed well. It was heartwarming and I just loved it.

– Liesel’s spirit contrasted with the harsh realities of things going on just jumped out of the screen. She was infectious and darling and, while it took me a little bit to get the Liesel in my head out of my mind, I really warmed up to her.

The Bad (Not BAD just maybe MEH)

– We didn’t like some of the small changes they made to it. We knew that these things happen in book to movie situations but we just really didn’t feel like they were necessary.

– We felt like Max’s return was so much more emotional in the book than in the movie. Or maybe I built it up in my head because I knew what was coming?

– I felt the end was really kind of rushed. That part wrecked me in the book, and while I was SOBBING because it was one of the most memorable and heartbreaking scene I’ve ever read in a book and I watched it play out, I felt like it it didn’t have that SLAYING kind of feeling like it did in the book. As I was reading I had to stop and let myself take it in for a second and I felt like the movie could have lingered a bit so we could see the enormity of what happened and just take it in.

– I was sad about how Ilsa (the mayor’s wife) didn’t feel as important to me in the movie. Sure, we see that she IS important but she didn’t feel as important. And I don’t think it was shown that Leisel was taken in by her like in the book? I felt like that was an essential part to me that in all her sadness that, while she was able to save Liesel, Liesel really saved her and maybe gave her something for her to live for?

The Ugly

– The rude lady who sat in front of us but loudly complained to her husband that “she didn’t want to sit near us because she was sure we would talk through the whole movie.” SORRY LADY I WAS TOO BUSY CRYING TO TALK. Also, serious book worms here and we had a book to movie adaptation to experience.

– When that same lady’s PHONE went off during the movie very loudly.

– When that same lady’s husband kept sniffling the ENTIRE MOVIE. I’d rather sit near talking people than sniffly people. JUST SAYING, LADY! I also wanted to throw my tissues at his head. I mean, sharing is caring.

Unintentional Survey of Audience Members That Were Not Book Club

From the the old man sitting next to me: *wipes away tears discretely during the big scene at the end*

From the older man sitting diagonal from me: *lets tears fall* *wipes tears away*

From the very nice man after the movie: “What happened in the beginning? I missed the first 15 minutes” I tell him. “Man that was a really good movie! Wow!”


Thank you Big Honcho Media for providing me with this opportunity to take my book club on a hot date to see this movie! All opinions were my own for sure. I had lots of feelings about one of my favorite books being made into a movie.

Did you see the movie? What did you think? What parts did you think were well done? Not so much? Did any of you only see the movie and not read the book? I’m very curious how your experience was!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Have to say I am VERY hesitant to see the film and even begged off some friends because I Love the book so much and adaptations have really been disappointing me as of late (except for anything by the Coen brothers and Catching Fire!) So good to hear from someone who saw the movie and loved the book as well to know it wasn’t a total screw up in translation from book to screen. And Death remaining a narrator was really important to me as well. It was a key strength of the text. Thanks for the review!

  2. I did watch the movie (with my hubby and in-laws over Thanksgiving!), and for once I had not read the book first. When I heard about the movie adaption, I decided that I wanted to hold off on reading it so that I could really enjoy the movie, because I knew it would be good. And while I still got really emotional and cried more than once, I can only imagine how badly I would have been sobbing through the book!

    I’m glad it mostly lived up to your expectations, that makes me feel like I should take the time to read the book as well, although I might wait a bit to let myself forget more of what happens first.

  3. Yay, I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I was so scared leading up to the movie that they were going to make it bad (I didn’t even watch the trailer for the same fear) but then I saw it and it was like a sigh of relief. I definitely agree that the movie didn’t hit me as emotionally as the book did and while I understand it’s definitely a very daunting task to take on – turning The Book Thief into a movie – I wished it were more fleshed out! I really wanted to see more of Max and Liesel, especially when we learned more about his past through the book because that was my favourite part! But the casting was really great (oh my god, Rudy was the cutest!) and I was glad to see that they did stick mostly true to the story but also appreciated the minor changes they made. And the ending absolutely WRECKED me. Smart for bringing tissues because I totally forgot! I didn’t expect I would cry because I didn’t while reading that book but man, that ending just broke me.

  4. What a rude lady! I would have been tempted to kick her. The Book Thief still is not out in Australia but I will defintely be bringing tissues with me because I just know I’ll end up in tears. The ending–IT’S JUST TOO MUCH! D;

    Great re-cap! <33

  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Book Thief so I’m glad that the movie was good too! Sounds like you had a lovely time 😉

  6. I’m really missing out at the moment because I haven’t read the book yet and I feel really bad! I have it and everything but I just haven’t managed to get to it yet. Even my mum has read it! I shall have to soon.

    Loved reading this post, Jamie! It has put a smile on my face. 😀

  7. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet but I’m hoping once it comes out to buy on dvd or to rent I’ll have read the book. It sounds like an amazing one!


  9. I went to see the movie with a friend that had not read the book and she loved the movie, she cried (of course), and said it was good. I liked the movie, but I love the book much more. There were a few changes, but must of all several omissions.

  10. Ugh sitting next to rude people really hurts the movie experience. But, it sounds like a really great book to movie adaptation and maybe I’ll go see it.

  11. It makes me extremely sad to admit that I have yet to watch The Book Thief! But seriously, I LOVE that you were able to capture everyone’s reactions to the film right away. I definitely NEED to see this one, and can’t wait till I do!

  12. Ughhhh that woman in front was the worst!!! I mean who goes into a movie theater all crotchety and complains about “teens talking” during the film?! People who don’t know how to turn off their phones during the movie that’s who…oh wait that’s right bc she did. Grr haha 😉

    But other than that 😉 great post!

  13. I haven’t read the book yet! I know! I need to!

  14. I haven’t seen it yet! But I really want to.. though.. if I am being honest.. I have not read the book >.< * waits to have things thrown at her * But I love your comments! It sucks to have someone even partially ruin a movie- but i'm glad that the movie won you over overall!

  15. Awww, you made choking noises. That’s the serious crying. I don’t think I cried, but I definitely had wet eyes.

    Papa was amazing, I agree. And Rudy. Actually, I generally loved the casting.

    I’m curious about your meh ones because I didn’t remember the book to well, so I missed a lot of that. For me, it was mainly the weird mixture of English and German that made me bonkers. ALL IN ENGLISH OR ALL IN GERMAN. STOP MIXING THEM.

    Okay, the rushed ending. I get that. The book thief part didn’t come across as much. So yeah, I see that too. I remembered Ilsa being more important, but I couldn’t remember what was missing.

    OMG, THAT LADY. RUDE. OH HELL NO HER PHONE. Bahahaha, sharing is caring. Girl, you’re hilarious.