The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

(2009)

Don’t be fooled by that title, this is no twee kids tale. Based on the book by Irish writer John Boyne, it centres on Bruno, the eight-year-old son of a high-ranking Nazi officer during WWII.... More

Too young to understand the war around him, Bruno is confused when his father’s new job sees them moving to the country and living next to what looks like a heavily fenced farm, tended by people in striped pyjamas. He’s also baffled by the black smoke billowing from the chimneys over the hill. One day, against his mother’s orders, he goes exploring, reaches the ‘farm’ fence and finds another little boy looking back at him from the other side.

Directed by Mark Herman (Little Voice, Brassed Off), this stars Brit thesp David Thewlis, The Departed’s Vera Farmiga and 10-year-old Asa Butterfield as Bruno.Hide

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Flicks Review

Take a hanky. No, take a whole box of tissues AND a hanky. This hammers home the inhumanity of the holocaust in devastating fashion. Unless you’re made of stone – or a fully committed Nazi – it will put you through the wringer.

But while it’s far from a ‘fun’ night at the pictures, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is still one of those films you really should see. It’s not perfect – I found the cast’s English accents a distraction from their German characters at times and there are moments which verge on melodrama. But for the most part it hits its targets, and those targets are shockingly harsh.

Little Asa Butterfield is quite something, displaying acting chops way beyond his years. Vera Farmiga also impresses, her classy exterior morphing into panic as she discovers the true grisliness of her husband’s job. Meanwhile, David Thewlis’ performance is taught and disturbing, but flirts with Nazi cliche – his cruel malevolence making me wonder how he could possibly have convinced Farmiga’s character to marry him.

But that’s one of the points being made here. Behind every twisted Nazi officer was a family, in many ways the same as the ones marched into chambers and told to remove their ‘pyjamas’. In different ways, those families suffered too. When it comes to ‘victims’ of the holocaust, the six million killed were the tip of the iceberg, and films like this are an important reminder. So go see it, just be prepared for a rough ride.


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 4 ratings, 4 reviews
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Very Depressing movie. Not that Holocaust movies are ever cheery, there was no release for the audience. Nothing uplifting, just depression. I dont know how this movie got a pg-13 rating. There was no redeeming value in this historically inaccurate film and the gassing of the two boys at the end. It took days to recover from watching that. Schindler's List or Life is Beautiful at least had a release at the end of the movie. With no release at the end of the movie you are left with... More nothing. I guess im just angered that this movie still has left me depressed after 3 days. The ending was truly horrific and this movie deserved a rating of R.Hide


O M G - 2 children in the same war through 2 sides of the fence. I found it heart wrenching as a Mother to see the agony of the situation. It was very emotional and well done to the writer. We need be be moved from our comfy seats. A movie that can leave you speechless has to be worthwhile.


its awesome for me so everyone should be wacthing this movie because its awesome!!.


The Press Reviews

63% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is not only about Germany during the war, although the story it tells is heartbreaking in more than one way. It is about a value system that survives like a virus. Full Review

  • Boyne's tale is starkly cautionary, and writer-director Herman handles a difficult topic with great sensitivity, drawing splendid performances from his young actors with David Thewlis and Vera Farmiga and the other grown-ups reliably efficient. Full Review

  • The film's two levels -- metaphoric and nitty-gritty -- don't mesh until the devastation of the closing sequence, which both indulges in and transcends melodrama. Full Review

  • See the Holocaust trivialized, glossed over, kitsched up, commercially exploited and hijacked for a tragedy about a Nazi family. Better yet and in all sincerity: don't. Full Review

  • Opening half-hour has some of the best stuff in the movie, walking a precarious line between black irony and showing the war from a totally German viewpoint, without tipping over into gallows humor or parody. Full Review

The Talk
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