The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
We’ve always believed that terribly upsetting Holocaust movies are better viewed from the comfort and safety of home, so this weekend, queue up The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (how’s that for a totally misleading should-be-a-warm-and-fuzzy title?), which Rex Reed calls “both wonderful and devastating.” Directed by Mark Herman (Little Voice) and adapted from the best-selling novel by John Boyne, the film stars Asa Butterfield as Bruno, a young boy who has moved with his family to a new home near what he thinks is a farm. But it turns out that his father (David Thewlis) has been put in charge of Auschwitz, and after Bruno does some exploring, he discovers a boy his own age named Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), who is on the other side of the concentration-camp fence wearing what Bruno believes to be pajamas (but are, in fact, his prison uniform). Though Bruno is told that Shmuel and the other pajama-wearers are his enemies, the two boys nevertheless strike up an uneasy friendship. Expect no happy endings with this one, but terrific performances from the young actors and Vera Farmiga, who plays Bruno’s mother and learns the hard way just what is going on in her own backyard.