I was invited to a screening of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS. This book was published in the U.S. in 2006 by our Random House Children’s Books division. It did extremely well, reaching a wide audience. John Boyne won two Irish Book Awards: Children’s Book of the Year and People’s Choice Book of the Year. It was short listed on best book awards lists throughout the world. And now the film.
It deserves to find a wide audience– especially among parents seeking to introduce their children to a sensitive subject. No warning comes with my comments. There are no scenes of direct violence. The filming is very discreet and yet everyone will clearly understand what is going on just out of the range of the camera. The point is made also that everyone in Germany in the 1940s did not know the extent of what was happening, and the very difficult role of the Mother is beautifully performed by the fine actress Vera Farmiga. David Thewlis is Father. The two young boys, Bruno (Asa Butterfield) and Shmuel (Jack Scanlon, his debut), are wonderfully portrayed.
The film will renew interest in this classic parable of good in the face of evil. Book groups for all ages should put this on their lists. Teachers should build classes around it. Libraries should put it front and center on their movie tie-in tables. The book is a classic.
A very well done film on a most difficult subject.