The Holocaust movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is continuing to draw big crowds despite its subject matter and a smattering of negative reviews. When it was released in a handful of theaters three weeks ago, Kyle Smith in the New York Post remarked that the film "works up a severely contrived ending that might strike even the most shameless Hollywood producer as a bit much. When it comes to the Holocaust, contrivance is neither welcome nor necessary." Other reviews were even tougher "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," wrote Manohla Dargis in the New York Times . And John Anderson in the Washington Post called it "yet another attempt to revisit a sorrowful event in history that should never be forgotten or used for entertainment." But Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal commented "The film succeeds to the degree that it does -- partially, but honorably and sometimes affectingly -- because it was made as well as it was." Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that it "tells its simple story with directness, concision and insightful detail." And Sheri Linden in the Los Angeles Times concluded that writer-director Mark Herman "crafts an affecting drama that refuses to soft-pedal its harrowing conclusion."
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This lively romp is entertaining enough to amuse the audience even when it veers off the rails.