An emotional and harrowing Holocaust drama. 4/5 stars
This emotional and harrowing wartime drama tells of Bruno (Asa Butterfield), an eight-year-old German boy who, although initially being upset when his father’s new job takes the family away from 1940s Berlin to live in the country, soon makes friends with Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), a boy of a similar age.
But Bruno doesn’t understand why Shmuel can’t come out of the farm he lives on and play and why he’s always wearing pyjamas. The devastating subject of the Holocaust is subtly and intelligently told here through a child’s eyes, but prepare yourself for a heart-rending finale.
Although the shocking, slow unravelling of the reality of the world around the boy is lost on film – as we can see what the lad clearly doesn’t understand – it is still a faithful adaptation of John Boyne’s bestseller.