The Reader

A new review from The Movie Snob

The Reader (B+). This movie kind of shook me up; it definitely held my attention from beginning to end. Although I had heard a fair amount about the plot before it saw it, I will endeavor not to commit any spoilers in my review, other than to say that the Holocaust is involved. The “present” is 1995, and in that time frame Ralph Fiennes (The Constant Gardener) plays the main character, an emotionally constricted German lawyer named Michael Berg. But most of the movie is told in flashback. The first flashback is to 1958, when Michael is a fresh-faced 16-year-old lad who gets involved in a torrid affair with Hannah Schmitz, a much older woman played by Kate Winslet (Titanic). Although the affair is brief, Michael is deeply affected. Years later, when he is a law student, Michael’s path crosses Hannah’s again. That’s about all I can say without risking what might be considered spoilers. I’ll just add that as the movie unfolds, I was startled and confused by some of the things the characters did; they seemed to act far differently than I would have. But I’ve read a few other reviews that had theories about their motivations that sort of make sense to me. I don’t think this movie is really best-picture caliber, but it was undeniably absorbing.

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