Set during World War 2, the story revolves around an adopted girl, Liesel, (it is not completely clear why she is adopted) in a small German town, and the experience of war. Her adopted family hides a Jewish family friend for 2 years, she teaches herself to read - and then falls in love with literature. It is a chronicle of the times where nationalistic songs included hatred of the "non Germans''; where books are burnt and where jobs are dependent on Nazi party allegiances.
The use of "Death" as the narrator was a stroke of genius in part; spoilt by an annoying voice and some cliched lines. The mangled use of German words in an otherwise English movie is also sometimes annoying; but the story and the acting performances are impressive, especially by Sophie Nélisse as Liesel.
It's a different take on the World War 2 movie - not focused on the politics or the fighting - but rather on the lives the women and children that aren't on the front; and not in the major cities. It's a touching tale of will, hope and bravery; and well worth watching.