Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Boy in The Striped Pajamas

Phil and I are enjoying our free month trial of NetFlix, especially because we can get movies instantly on our Wii. I love technology, I don't understand it, but I love it.

Anyway, one of the movies we had to chose from was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Phil had just finished the book. He needed to see the movie because the book was required summer reading for all the students at the high school where Phil teaches, and he needed to be able to "catch" those lazy students who only saw the movie and didn't read the book.

I had absolutely no idea of the story line, and was so thoroughly touched by this movie. I feel it is a must-see, but want to warn you that it is hard to watch. I can't stop thinking about it.

It starts off with a high-class family living in Berlin, composed of a soldier dad, a mom, a daughter and son. The "perfect" family living in the "perfect" house suddenly has to move when Dad gets a promotion. The family moves into a gated house where the boy is not allowed to go exploring, a tutor is brought in from the outside, and Dad has plenty of secret meetings behind closed doors. Bruno, the little boy, dreams of playing outside and making friends with the "farmers" he can see from his bedroom window.

There is a young soldier assigned to the house, who heavily influences the older sister's views of the Holocaust, and opens up the eyes of the mother to what is really going on in the camps. In the book, Phil said this soldier has an affair with the mother, but that is not portrayed in the movie.

On one day, when the mother (who is steadily entering a depressed state) is gone into town shopping, Bruno sneaks away from home and finds a young boy wearing striped "pajamas" playing in the dirt. They become fast friends, and without quite realizing why this boy is behind an electric fence, Bruno starts bringing him food and conversation.

Without wanting to give too much away, I'll just say that the boys' friendship is tested and Bruno fails miserably, yet seeks out and receives forgiveness from his friend in the Auschwitz camp. In order to make it up to him, Bruno decides to help him on a mission, and everybody's lives are changed because of it.

This movie is filled with so many poignant scenes and one-liners that make you think. The hypocrisy of what the father thinks is "okay" to do to the Jews in the camp and yet how protective he is of his own children is absurd. The brainwashing that occurs at the hands of the tutor was all too common back in the day. And when the mother finally realizes what is happening to the prisoners of Auschwitz, she gets mad, but then accepts it along with all the other people at the time.

More importantly, there is such a strong parallel between this movie and abortion.

Somehow in America, we have rationalized away every fear, concern, and putrid reaction abortion should cause us to have. Just like these innocent prisoners of war who were put to death based solely on their ancestry, millions of babies are dying based solely on their untimeliness.

Just like the soldiers who fought under Hitler made themselves believe they were doing what was best for their country, many parents of aborted babies fool themselves into believing they are doing what's best for their life.

In the movie, when the mother finds out what is causing the black smoke coming from the camp, she is sickened but does nothing to stop it. How alike are so many of us who are disgusted by the thought of unborn babies being murdered in their mother's wombs yet do NOTHING to stop it. While we may not be able to physically stop a woman from getting an abortion, we can try to change their mind, we can protest (peacefully) at abortion mills, we can vote pro-life, we can pray for an end to abortion, we can support young mothers in crisis, we can teach abstinence, the list goes on and on.

I hope that one day we will be able to look back on this time of legalized abortion with the same horror that we remember the Holocaust. And both events will be just shameful pieces in our history, a past that we will never allow to happen again.


  1. We watched this movie a few months ago and really enjoyed it. It is such a tragic testament to man's sinfulness and what can happen when we forget who God is.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE instant Netflix via Wii! Like you said, technology is awesome. :-)

  2. Awesome post! I've been wanting to see this movie, but I don't think my preggo hormones can handle it at this time! Hopefully soon!

  3. This is a fabulous book. I taught it to my students this year. I still want to see the movie though!

  4. wow...
    just reading your review and the following post from you.. i have chill bumps..
    but how right you are.. i can hate abortion and disagree whole-heartedly... but what's the point.. if i just sit back and do NOTHING.. if i just sit there and say how sad it makes me yet do nothing...

    thank you colleen..

  5. abortion is our holocaust

  6. Mom MartinAugust 17, 2010

    Awesome movie review and awesome commentary, Colleen. I'm proud of you! Love, Mom Martin

  7. good account of it! We saw it and I boo-hooed! Our boys watched it at school and I think it made the whole era so much more real to them!

  8. I remember hearing about this movie/book. Unfortunately, this is something I can't watch...I get way too emotional. I love that Phil both read and saw the movie to catch the lazy kids. :)

  9. Now I'm curious about the movie. I may have to check it out since I have Netflix.

  10. together with my older brother we watch the film... such a great movie..!


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