A TEAR-STAINED goodbye sees young Liesel Meminger torn from her Communist mother into the care of Hans and Rosa Hubermann, her foster parents, as tensions mount across Second World War Europe.

Mark Zuzak’s best-selling book is finally brought to the big screen with Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as the foster couple, and shining young actress Sophie Nélisse as Liesel, the stars of this heartbreaker.

With encouragement from Hans, Liesel learns to read, developing a voracious appetite for books.

She reads in secret, sated by the mayor’s wife Ilsa (Barbara Auer), who owns a vast library of texts, many of which would surely go up in flames at one of the Nazis’ book-burning ceremonies.

Liesel hides these visits from everyone, including her neighbour and good friend Rudy Steiner (Nico Liersch), who proudly enrols in the Hitler Youth movement.

One night, a Jewish refugee called Max Vandenburg (Ben Schnetzer) arrives at the Hubermanns’ home and they offer him shelter in the basement.

Liesel becomes complicit in Max’s concealment, but when school bully Franz Deutscher (Levin Liam) overhears Liesel confessing her secret to Rudy it seems that Max’s grim fate is sealed.