New Book Thief Trailer Lands

'Words are life'

Set in Third Reich-era Germany, Markus Zusak's much-loved novel The Book Thief is coming to the big screen in a flurry of coming-of-age emotion. It has an Oscar season release date and a brand new trailer, freshly launched over at Apple, each as wintry as the other.

The period detail is rich and there's some stellar acting talent on display here. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson play the foster parents of orphan Liesel Meminger, but Sophie Nélisse, with only Monsieur Lazhar to her name, looks likely to be the star of the show as young Liesel.

Living with her new family, the Hubermanns, Liesel befriends Jewish fistfighter Max (Ben Schnetzer), who's being hidden in the Hubermans' cellar; the mayor's wife Ilsa, who gives Liesel the run of her library; and various local children, including muddy-kneed scamp Rudy (Nico Liersch). The story traces Liesel's personal development, both through her relationships and through the books she steals and reads, all against the backdrop of the Nazi state. She eventually writes the story of her own life, as the War gets closer and closer to home.

If you've read The Book Thief, you'll probably be wondering how 20th Century Fox's adaptation wrestles with the book's device of having the character of Death narrate the story. There's no sign of the Reaper here either, but the filmmakers are promising to honour that mechanic with an appearance. And not, we'd hazard, for a game of Battleship.

The Book Thief
will be jimmying open the window of your local cinema on January 31, 2014, or November 15, 2013, if you're in the US.