In Germany after World War II, an older woman befriends and has an ongoing sexual relationship with a young man who is still in what we would consider high school.
Her requirement of him is that he read to her.
Their sometimes-troubled, impossible to maintain connection abruptly ends and breaks his heart. A few years later, he sees her again. He’s a law student observing her war-crimes trial. What he learns at the trial is the film’s unique twist.
Kate Winslet kicked off the Golden Globes getting the best supporting actress award for The Reader.
Winslet’s subsequent babbling was the poorest of a number of poor award acceptance performances. Her work in the film The Reader, however, is not. Outside of her equally compelling also Golden Globe winning work in the non-Oscar nominated Revolutionary Road, it may be 2008’s best acting.
Winslet is a talented actress with the ability to stop and change emotions on the proverbial dime. As good as she is at emoting, it’s Winslet’s facial expressions and posture and what she doesn’t say that packs the real power in The Reader.
A believable and also excellent David Kross supports Winslet as her young, naïve lover. Ralph Fiennes plays the kid in the present for flashback purposes.
Stephen Daldry directs and the screenplay is courtesy of David Hare. They are the team that brought you the critically acclaimed 2002 art film favorite The Hours.
Daldry and Hare are exceptional storytellers and their best picture, best director, best screenplay nominated film is deep and rich and compelling.
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens today at the Columbia Mall 8 and at Fairchild Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.