The Boy in the Striped Pajamas takes us back to Germany at the outset of World War II. Its protagonist is Bruno (Asa Butterfield), an 8-year-old boy who's smart, brave, and adventurous but mostly confused by what's going on in the world and at home. His father (David Thewlis), a high-ranking SS officer, has taken a promotion that relocates the family away from Berlin, to the countryside.
Bruno's bored in his new setting, especially because his mother (Vera Farmiga) forbids him from exploring the woods behind the home. Bruno can see a strange sort of farm through the trees, where the farmers wear striped pajamas. Bruno's emotions are a swarm of conflicts, and what truths he's told by his parents, tutor, and sister don't align with what he's seeing with his own eyes. That the lies come from his own father and that his mother is increasingly upset compound his predicament.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is rated PG-13. What's happening in the film is no surprise to adults and probably isn't for most young teens. It's being marketed as a Holocaust movie for younger audiences. Thirteen is probably about right for the youngest viewers. It's as brilliantly effective a movie about the Holocaust as I've seen. It completely destroyed me. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone Bruno's age.
Opens Friday, November 21st,