The Reader

Rated R 123 minutes 2009

A great, Oscar-winning performance by Kate Winslet and an interesting exploration of the power of conformism are only partially ruined by some horrid directing by Stephen Daldry. Winslet plays Hanna Schmitz, a 36-year-old woman having an affair with Michael Berg, a 15-year old boy in postwar Germany. A decade later, Berg has become a law student, and he encounters his lover once again, because she’s on trial for being a guard at a concentration camp. This wreaks havoc with his boner-memories, and also creates some guilt, as he has information that could partially exonerate her. However, the same sorts of social pressures that sucked Hanna into goose-stepping are now preventing Berg from coming forward to help her. The whole thing is wrapped into a framing device wherein Ralph Fiennes plays the 60-year-old Berg looking back on his Nazi-humping past with wistfulness and that blank-eyed, distant stare that spells “acting” with a capital “A” and then a “k” and then some other letters that are so deep and powerful that you should totally pay them money to be in self-important films.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Stephen Daldry

Producer: Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti, Redmond Morris and Bob Weinstein

Cast: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, Lena Olin, Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Lara, Hannah Herzsprung, Volker Bruch, Jeanette Hain and Moritz Grove


The Reader

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