The Reader opens in post-WWII Germany when teenager Michael becomes ill and is helped home by Hanna (played by Kate Winslet, in her Oscar winning performance), a stranger twice his age. Michael recovers from scarlet fever and seeks out Hanna to thank her. The two are quickly drawn into a passionate but secretive affair.... More
Michael discovers that Hanna loves being read to and their physical relationship deepens. Hanna is enthralled as Michael reads to her from The Odyssey, Huck Finn and The Lady with the Little Dog. Despite their intense bond, Hanna mysteriously disappears one day and Michael is left confused and heartbroken.
Eight years later while Michael (now played by Ralph Fiennes) is a law student observing the Nazi war crime trials, he is stunned to find Hanna back in his life - this time as a defendant in the courtroom. As Hanna's past is revealed, Michael uncovers a deep secret that will impact both of their lives.Hide
BY Flicks Writer
Who says Holocaust films can't be sexy? For the first hour of The Reader Kate Winslet is mostly naked and always fabulous in playing Mrs. Robinson to a 15-year-old boy. It's the late '50s in Germany, and the spring and autumn lovebirds wile away the after-school hours by working their way through literature's greatest hits.... More
Based on the best-selling novel by Bernhard Schlink, this is a refreshingly literate film. Winslet berates her young consort for reading out Lady Chatterley's Lover. "You should be ashamed of yourself," she says, before adding: "Go on." This revere only lasts until a freight-train straight from the stockyards of Auschwitz crunches into the narrative.
In the hands of a lesser filmmaker this change in tone might prove more catastrophic, but director Stephen Daldry instead uses the build-up to fashion a tragic love story with no easy payoffs. Daldry is helped immeasurably by his cast in fashioning this masterpiece - Winslet in particular. The one-time Titanic pinup has shed her girly image and here plays a character who convincingly ages over the course of four decades.
The best film of the year so far, which leaves one final question: How on earth did Slumdog Millionaire win the Oscar for best picture?Hide
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The key problem being that the middle of the film whets the appetite with some juicy courtroom scenes and lecture theatre postulating, which tempts the viewer to think the movie will seek to analyse that great unanswered question in Holocaust pictures - "why did they?". But instead it veers off into the unsatisfying unspoken, ongoing, romantic entanglement... More angle.
But just because the scriptwriters bailed out on the better plot line doesn't make this a poor film, as Daldry's work keeps you watching.Hide
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