Review by Dan Skip Allen
It's always nice to see new stories about or surrounding WWII. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is another such story. Foreign films have a way that is different about telling stories and making movies. American audiences are spoiled with the films we get here, but some of the best films are from other countries.
Adapted from a children's book, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is about the Kemper family that flees Germany on the brink of Adolf Hitler getting elected as leader of the country. The father, Arthur (Oliver Masucci), is a writer for a Jewish newspaper. He is one of Hitler's outspoken critics. So before their election, the family moves to Switzerland, and eventually to France in search of work. It's not easy finding work for a Jewish writer in Europe.
The family also includes mother Dorothea (Carla Juri). She has a great relationship with her husband and also her two children. Max (Marinus Hohmann) is the older of the siblings and is a good big brother to his little sister who just turned 10 years old, Anna (Riva Krymalowksi), a curious child who always asks questions and draws pictures. She has interesting relationships with people throughout the film, but she is a daddy's girl at heart. Father and daughter spend a lot of time contemplating life and its myriad of different oddities.
The film mainly focuses on young Anna. She is a bit mischievous and is always asking questions of her father, mother, classmates, and teachers alike. Kids are always very curious at this age, but she is more than normal. Using her as the eyes and ears of the film was a good idea by writer Judith Kerr and director Caroline Link. Adapted from the book of the same name, this is a nice way to educate children about these events surrounding the war.
This has a wonder to it through the eyes of this young girl. It has a curiosity we would all have at this age. Link brings us into this historical yet realistic world with a vision of a better world. Even though this family struggles at times they learn from every setback and no they get. All of this helps define them as people who know they deserve better than what they have gotten this far. These are all learning experiences for the children and parents alike.
Set in the shadow of the Swiss Alps and the Eiffel tower, Link vividly brings to life the world these people live in and travel to. The cinematography is first-rate without being too over-the-top. It helps to bring the viewer into the world this story takes place in. A world still beautiful and untouched by the evils that will come in a few short years. The hand of Hitler hasn't ravaged the Jewish people or decimated these beautiful locations just yet.
The film ran an hour and fifty-nine minutes in length. It moved along pretty well but maybe could have been shortened by about fifteen minutes or so. A lot of scenes involving school or travel could have been cut to make for a leaner runtime. This story was very good, but it didn't have a lot of standout moments like other films in this genre have had in the past. Anna's youthful innocence is the thread that keeps this film together.
This film is a beautiful one, to say the least. The foreign aspect made for a nice way to tell the story. The acting is fine by everyone involved, but the young girl is the standout among the cast. Link made a very enjoyable film with a great message of discovery. If it was a little shorter, it may have been a great film. That is a minor tidbit I have a problem with though. I look forward to more films from this director.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit hits theaters on May 21.