In The Book Thief, out today (November 8), Emily Watson plays the foster mother of a young girl in Nazi Germany who finds inspiration through books and words. The picture is based on the 2005 international bestseller of the same name from author Markus Zusak.
Watson says: “I felt very lucky to be in this film, because I felt that his book to me is like a love letter to storytelling. It’s how transcendent the power of words is in dark times.”
The girl at the heart of the film, Liesel, is played by French-Canadian actress Sophie Nelisse who’s been getting some strong reviews. Geoffrey Rush portrays the foster father.
Emily Watson’s character as the matriarch of the household doesn’t object to helping a young Jewish man hiding from the Nazis to seek refuge in the family home. The film depicts a range of individuals struggling to make difficult decisions in often terrifying circumstances.
As Watson puts it: “A young Jewish boy crawls through the door and which way are you going to jump, and instinctively in that moment, you are revealed as a person.”
The film was brought together by British filmmaker Brian Percival best known for directing episodes of Downton Abbey, including the very first.
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