It was a really beautiful film. I was worried from the trailer that the tone of it might be a little too light, considering how dark the book can be. But they actually did a really good job of balancing humor and lighter moments with the more dramatic ones. This is a good book-to-film adaptation...I noticed a few things that were left out or changed, but overall it stuck pretty closely to the book and all of the important things are still there.
The cinematography is really gorgeous, and the costumes and sets were great. (The book burning scene was visually stunning, though as a book lover, it made me cringe. I also loved all of the snowy scenes.) The outside of the house and the street weren't exactly how I had imagined them, but the inside of the house was. The music was also amazing.
The casting was one of the best parts of the movie...it was seriously perfect. Sophie Nelisse, the girl who played the main character Liesel, was amazing. Not only was she adorable (those curls!), but she's also a really good actress. I loved the transformation from the silent girl at the beginning to the confident girl she became later on, telling stories in the bomb shelter during air raids. (And have I mentioned how adorable she was??) And they really couldn't have found anyone better than Geoffrey Rush to play her foster father, Hans. Oh my goodness, he was perfect and exactly what I was imagining when I read the book. I loved it when he played the accordion. I was also really impressed with Emily Watson as Rosa, the foster mother. They toned back Rosa's nastiness big time for the film, and I'm glad because while she's still grumpy, she's so much more likable. :)
I've read quite a few WWII stories, especially ones involving the Holocaust. But this is the first story I've ever read that takes place from the viewpoint of ordinary German people living under Hitler. I think most of us tend to be really judgmental towards them and wonder how they could have let those terrible things happen. But The Book Thief does a good job of showing the fear that they lived under, worrying what awful things would happen to them if they dared speak out against the Fuhrer.
My favorite scene was probably the one where Liesel and Rudy were out in the woods shouting "I hate Hitler!" As children, they probably didn't understand the extent of Hitler's evil...they just know that he's done things that have taken away people they love and changed their lives. I also love basically any scene with Liesel and Hans together. Their relationship is so sweet. And for different reasons, I appreciated the scene when the Nazis are checking basements...it was really good and appropriately tense.
The one thing about the book that bugs me is the profanity. Bad language is one of my pet peeves, and the book unfortunately includes a lot of it. It's also just a bit too crass at times. I'm glad the movie steered away from that...in that way, it actually improved on the book (in my opinion :).
Like I said, The Book Thief is such a beautiful movie, and I really recommend it. It's not a feel-good film by any means, so don't watch it if you're in the mood for something cheerful. (The end will make you cry. If you've read the book, you know what I mean. It's even more heartbreaking seeing it happen, though it's handled in a really graceful way.) But it's definitely worth watching.
Have you read The Book Thief or seen the film? What did you think?