294. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Movie: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Release Date: November 26, 2008

Director: Mark Herman

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend, David Hayman.

Tag Lines: “A timeless story of innocence lost and humanity found.”

“Fences divide, but hope unites.”

“A story of innocence in a world of ignorance.”

“Lines may divide us, but hope will unite us.”

Relevance: ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ was one of those movies I added to my Netflix DVD queue without knowing too much about it. I do that quite a bit. My queue is very long. (That’s what she said.) When the DVD’s arrive, sometimes I watch them right away and sometimes they sit for a few days. This particular movie sat around for over a week. Although I did watch movies on weekdays, the bulk of my Netflix DVD’s were left to Friday nights and Saturdays. I was single and living alone in May of 2009 when I finally sat down to watch it. And thank goodness I was. I ugly cried long after the movie was over. And I only like to do that when I am alone.

I knew that the movie took place in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust and that it involved a young child in a concentration camp, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a romantic comedy. However I was not prepared for that devastating punch-in-the-gut ending that I witnessed. It’s so emotionally powerful and it left me numb for days. After I recovered, I learned that the movie was based on a book by John Boyne, so of course I sought that out to read. ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ is another example of art leading its way to more art.

Today’s Thoughts: “Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.” – John Betjeman

This quote that opens the movie isn’t fully realized until the end of the film, but as I knew the ending it definitely set the tone for the movie I was about to watch. Now I have not watched this film since my first viewing back in 2009. Why would I considering the emotional toll it took on me? However, today I was prepared. I was ready with a box of Kleenex by my side. Surprisingly, I did not need them. It’s still an incredibly powerful movie, but I paid more attention to the artistry and the actors this time then I did the story. So my emotions were in check.

Vera Farmiga, whom I probably didn’t know when I first watched it, gave a harrowing performance as the mother. Her face in the scene when she finds out what her husband’s job was took my breath away. And her scream during the climax of the film was chilling. She is a talent to be reckoned with.

And hello there, Professor Lupin. David Thewlis, known for his role in the Harry Potter films, plays a not so nice Nazi. Not that there are actually nice Nazi’s. Asa Butterfield who plays Bruno, quite well I might add, is now in a Netflix series called “Sex Education,” A show worth checking out when you get the chance.

Although not a feel good movie, it is definitely an important movie and one that I highly recommend. Of course, keep in mind it is a tough movie to watch. If you are like me, it will affect you a lot. So keep the Kleenex nearby.

Awards: British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, Vera Farmiga (winner), British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer, Asa Butterfield (nomination), British Independent Film Award for Best Director, Mark Herman (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, DVD Availability.

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