Film Review 14: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

This is one of the most remarkable holocaust films I’ve ever seen. The story tells of a friendship between two children separated by barbed wire fence. Sets during World War II, you can imagine how different their lives are.

Bruno enters the story as a boy who enjoys playing with his friends, oblivious to what is happening around him. His father, a high rank soldier, gets a promotion which requires the family to relocate to the “countryside”. Bruno does not like the new house because there is no one to play with. From his window, he sees a farm with children in striped pyjamas and delights in the prospect of making new friends. He asks his mother for permission to visit the farm but she forbids. One day, out of boredom and curiosity, he explores into the woods which leads him to Shmuel, a boy in striped pyjamas. Despite being separated by an electrified wire fence, Bruno befriends him without knowing what he is actually seeing. He begins to visit him regularly and as their friendship grows, Bruno is slowly presented with the horrible truth that surrounds him.

It has been quite some time since I saw a holocaust movie and this is exactly what I needed. There are so many World War 2 movies sometimes they make me feel apathetic towards the war but this movie gives us a new perspective of holocaust from an innocent child’s point of view. While watching, I felt like a child who has just been made aware of the inhumanity of holocaust. It left me in distress, which is good. After all it’s not right to leave with smiles after watching a holocaust movie.

This movie doesn’t aim to illuminate the history of holocaust. Some of you might doubt the film because the actors are speaking in English and they are supposedly Germans but I think it is nice to finally be able to watch a World War 2 movie instead of reading it on a big screen. Besides, the actors deliver natural performances especially Vera Farmiga who delivers her character strongly as a woman torn between her moral conscious and role as the commandant’s wife.

This is a harrowing fable that leaves us questioning about humanity and it hits hard.

Mel says: 8/10

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