Film review: “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas”


I don’t usually do this–in fact this is a first (and probably a last) for DefCon–but I have a secular movie recommendation. Before you think I’ve lost my mind, hear me out first.

I gave up secular movies over two years ago for obvious reasons (sex, violence, profanity, etc.) in addition to the fact that Hollywood’s story telling capabilities lacked depth, and frankly, oftentimes insulted my intelligence.

One of the genres of films that I enjoyed when I used to watch movies was WWII films such as Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List (I have always been intrigued by the level of evil that a society could collectively attain to under on man’s leadership).

Sadly, I could never bring myself to watch these films ever again, not because I find myself in conflict with the portrayal of the dramatic historical events of war itself, but due to the unnecessary content such as the excessive profanity and use of my Savior’s name as a cuss word.

Well, for those of you out there like me who enjoy great films about WWII, but are not willing to set the wickedness before your eyes that Hollywood feels for some reason needs to inundate every film they produce, I have great news for you!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas contains:

– No profanity.

– No sex.

– Very minimal violence (much less than The Passion of the Christ).

What happens when the 8 year-old son of a Nazi soldier who runs a prison camp befriends an 8 year-old boy inside the prison camp? Their friendship between the electric, barbed wire fence is chronicled in this cleverly crafted tale with superb acting that concludes with an ending that will leave you stunned.

This is truly a tale that your children can watch that will help to educate them on the horrors of what took place in Nazi Germany.

The only questionable scenes in the movie are when the one little boy lies to his mother a few times (once to sneak food to his friend in the prison camp). However, those lies do not rest without the boy reaping the bitter results. The other scene to be cautious about for younger viewers is when an SS officer takes a man into the kitchen and batters him. Although you do not see the violence you hear it and know it’s happening. Make sure you view the film before allowing your kids to, in the event you feel it’s not suitable for them.

Even with these scenes I was shocked at how this film portrayed the story in such a powerful way without the use of even one profanity (can’t even say that much for some preachers). I will not soon forget this film, and I highly recommend it.

I especially think this film would benefit home schoolers who are currently studying or planning on studying WWII. This movie is not a war film, but it’s more of an insight into the personal side of those affected by the horrors of WWII and Hitler’s Germany–a perfect example of a Darwinian worldview followed through to its logical conclusion.

7 thoughts on “Film review: “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas”

  1. While I agree that its a superb piece of art and I admittedly got sucked into it while watching the film, after wards I pondered it and now have a different perspective. Throughout the entire film they set you up to fall in love with the main character which leads you to have compassion for his family. Its difficult for me to elaborate without giving it away but all I can say is what do you think a Holocaust survivor would think about the focus being on the enemy rather than the true victims? Using the Holocaust as a backdrop for a fictitious story about childrens’ innocence just seems wrong to me. It may be a ploy by Hollywood to change our perspective about the Holocaust. Emotion is a powerful tool and can do amazing things in the wrong hands. Textbooks are already changing history and trying to minimalize it. What will the next generation believe?..think about it.


  2. Tanya C:

    Thanks for your comment (and for not revealing the ending).

    I didn’t walk away from this film looking at it the same way you did. Although you do make a very valid point, I didn’t look at it that way.

    As for me, I saw this as less than sympathizing with the enemy than I did as showing that everyone is affected by evil no matter how safe, secure, and untouchable we think we may be.

    In this tale there’s almost a sense that one walks away feeling a degree of justice being dispensed, albeit in the most sad way.

    I certainly did not, and even after mulling over your take of the conclusion, come away feeling compassion for the Nazi family. And although a good portion of the movie dealt with the Nazi family, it was the two boys who were the ones it was really about. And although less time was spent detailing the suffering of those in the prison camp, they still played a prominent role in the places throughout the film they appeared. And their small roles left an lasting impression.

    Do I think the film could have been better? Certainly. I wish there was more of the relationship between the two boys presented. I think the film could have easily been 15 to 30 minutes longer. But they did a fine job nonetheless with the film.

    I walked away, not empathizing with the Nazi family, but saddened at the inhumanity of evil and the wake of victims that sin leaves behind.

    – The Pilgrim


  3. Although I haven’t seen this movie, one thing comes to mind looking at the poster. And this may be wildly off-topic, but I still feel the need to share this.

    We talk about children being “innocent” and so forth. But just remember one thing: there was once an innocent little boy, probably much like the German boy in this film, running through the streets and the countryside of Austria, playing soccer, and just acting like any other little boy anywhere in the world.

    He grew up to be Adolf Hitler.


  4. i just finished watching this movie [ comcast on demand ] and i was unable to move during the last 5 minutes. what an unbelievably great lesson to those who commit evil and those who go along with it claiming it was ” only done because he or she was ordered to do it.” WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND.


  5. i read the book of this and dont think i could watch the movie. it was powerful and profound. and oh the ending. but it happened (well that part of history) and gives it a human face, almost on both sides of the fence. it is disturbing, but real.

    blessings, fireball


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