The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas 2008

Critics score:
63 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Ben Lyons, At the Movies: A beautiful film. Read more

Sheri Linden, Chicago Tribune: Translating this dark fable to the screen, Herman for the most part maintains the book's oversimplification of historical events, but he nonetheless crafts an affecting drama that refuses to soft-pedal its harrowing conclusion. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: See the Holocaust trivialized, glossed over, kitsched up, commercially exploited and hijacked for a tragedy about a Nazi family. Better yet and in all sincerity: don't. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: It reeks of self-righteousness. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: When Bruno makes an effort to set things right, the film goes powerfully wrong. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: This very unsubtle movie's heart is in the right place; its art, unfortunately, isn't. Read more

Tasha Robinson, AV Club: It sounds ridiculous, and yet thanks to a remarkable concatenation of talent, it's horrifying rather than risible. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Although it's told from the perspective of a child, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is as shattering as any film about the Holocaust could be, perhaps more so. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Because its gaze is so level and so unyielding, it stands as one of the better dramatic films made on this subject (although it's not nearly as fine as Louis Malle's Au Revoir les Enfants, in which the camps remain a distant abstraction). Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: It tosses over all that finely drawn narrative caution and goes straight for the sensational, swinging its attention on Bruno's distraught mother and the breakdown of a single German family. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The great conundrum of the Holocaust is that it was perpetrated by human beings, not monsters. Few movies have rendered this puzzle so powerfully. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: In truth, the film is sure to stop the hearts of many who see it. There may indeed be hope in hell, but better to avoid hell altogether. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: As a Holocaust-for-kids fable, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an appalling, jaw-dropping movie that will cause serious nightmares. Read more

Bob Mondello, The faux-naive point of view probably worked better in the novel; the literalness of film renders certain of the story's conceits ... overly precious. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: When it comes to the Holocaust, contrivance is neither welcome nor necessary. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: See it at all costs. It is both wonderful and devastating. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: The result isn't a deep film, but rather a profound one. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas has a storybook innocence about it, by design. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas should be heartbreaking, but it isn't. The muted quality of its impact is the result of narrative shortcuts and a desire to keep the images from being too startling. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is not only about Germany during the war, although the story it tells is heartbreaking in more than one way. It is about a value system that survives like a virus. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Not everything in life, or in history, needs to be framed in terms of things children can relate to. I'm not talking about shielding kids; I'm just saying that some ideas are so horrific that they shouldn't be framed in childish terms. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Farmiga's emotional clarity and intensity have an almost cleansing quality -- so pristine, plain and right. This role takes her abilities and her career to a new level. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Young Scanlon and Butterfield are scathingly effective, never overplaying their roles. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: The child in the striped pajamas is yours and mine and every child at any time. Read more

Susan Walker, Toronto Star: That these boys could not fathom what was actually going on in the camps also rings true and is the reason why stories like this one must endure. Read more

Derek Adams, Time Out: Ultimately, though, it's the kids' movie; both Butterfield and Scanlon deliver strong, poignant performances. Just prepare to leave the screening feeling somewhat depressed. Read more

Hank Sartin, Time Out: Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: This beautifully rendered family film is told in a classic and old-fashioned style, in the best sense, providing poignant and powerful teachable moments. Read more

Derek Elley, Variety: John Boyne's almost unfilmable novel about a young German kid's-eye view of the Holocaust gets a solid, ultimately powerful translation to the bigscreen in Brit helmer Mark Herman's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Read more

John Anderson, Washington Post: Yet another attempt to revisit a sorrowful event in history that should never be forgotten or used for entertainment. Read more