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Cinemaniac: "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" tells the emotional story of an unlikely friendship

Cinemaniac is a blog updated every week that reviews Netflix movies and movies in the theatre.

by Jessica Tharaud

4.5 out of 5 stars

As someone who very rarely cries in movies,  it surprised me how emotional I became at the end of “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” Truth be told, the entire movie pulled at the heart strings, but it was the ending that brought a beautiful movie to a shocking close.

Based on a novel of the same name, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” tells the story of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of a Nazi soldier during World War II. After his father is promoted, Bruno and his family move to a house near the infamous death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he befriends Schmuel, a Jewish boy behind the barbed wire fence. At first, Bruno thinks that the boy is wearing pajamas, hence the title.

Asa Butterfield as Bruno was simply spectacular. He embraced the character fully, and seeing this innocent boy thrust into a hateful world was incredibly moving. Bruno had no inkling of why Jews were bad or what really happened in the concentration camp, and Butterfield conveyed that purity with ease.

One thing I have to point out is the complete implausibility of the story. If any, very few eight-year-old boys would have worked in a death camp like Auschwitz. Most would have been killed when they arrived because they cannot perform manual labor. Additionally, I highly doubt that no one would have noticed Schmuel’s disappearance as he sat talking to Bruno every day.

But despite the inaccuracies, I absolutely loved this movie. It played subtly on the contrast between Bruno’s innocence and the horrifying conditions at the concentration camp, portraying them through his confused eyes. For me, the movie’s brilliance came from its storytelling and impeccable characters that were varied and disproved the assumption of the complicit German.

Prepare to cry when watching this movie, but know that it’s worth the tears to watch such a well-produced film.

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