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Eight year-old Bruno is the sheltered son of a Nazi officer whose promotion takes the family from their comfortable home in Berlin to a desolate area. Bruno ignores his mother's repeated instructions not to explore the back garden and heads for the 'farm' he has seen in the near distance. There he meets Shmuel, a boy his own age who lives a parallel, alien existence on the other side of a barbed wire fence.
Drama - This is a dark, serious, depressing drama set during the Holocaust
for adult moviegoers. While the main characters are young children,
the subject matter and story is too slow and downbeat for young
children. This can maybe used as a teaching tool for parents to
teach and discuss history with pre-teen children.
Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Average The Boy in the Striped Pajamas should be heartbreaking, but it isn't. The muted quality of its impact is the result of narrative shortcuts and a desire to keep the images from being too startling. The fairy tale aspect is both a strength and a weakness - it provides a fresh perspective but raises serious questions about intent.
Roger EbertFull Review Very Good Mark Herman's "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" depends for its powerful impact on why, and when, it transfers the film's point of view. For almost all of the way, we see events through the eyes of a bright, plucky 8-year-old. Then we begin to look out through the eyes of his parents. Why and when that transfer takes place gathers all of the film's tightly wound tensions and savagely uncoils them.
USA TodayFull Review Poor The Boy in the Striped Pajamas adds another poignant tale to the canon of Holocaust movies.
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Berlin, 1940s. Eight year-old Bruno returns from playing with his school friends to find his home bustling with preparations: his father, a Nazi officer, has just been promoted and his mother is planning a party. Bruno sees no cause for celebration; his father's new job is outside Berlin and the whole family will be moving to the countryside, forcing him to leave the home and friends he loves. His fears of loneliness are confirmed when the family arrives at their dreary, isolated new house. Bruno finds it difficult to settle into his new life and quickly grows bored. There are no other children to play with and his mother forbids him from exploring behind the house. His older sister Gretel never bothers to talk to him anymore: she is too busy organizing her dolls, or talking to one of her father's men, the handsome, menacing young Lieutenant Kotler. Bruno is intrigued by the existence of an odd sort of farm he can see from his bedroom window, where all the residents seem to be wearing striped Pajamas. When he tries to find out more about the 'farm‚' he is told not to concern himself with it and certainly not to go near it. We know what Bruno does not, that the 'farm' is an extermination camp. His mother is also in ignorance - she believes that they are living next to an internment or labour camp; her husband has sworn under oath never to reveal its real purpose as a killing factory designed to implement the 'Final Solution', the systematic eradication of the Jewish people.