The Reader (2008)

“I’m not frightened. I’m not frightened of anything. The more I suffer, the more I love. Danger will only increase my love. It will sharpen it, it will give it spice. I will be the only angel you need. You will leave life even more beautiful than you entered it. Heaven will take you back and look at you and say: Only one thing can make a soul complete, and that thing is love. ” – Michael

Number of Times Seen – 2 (26 Jan 2009 and 23 Apr 2017)

Brief Synopsis – A young German teenager during the 1950’s meets an older woman and they begin an affair.  Years later, as a law student, he discovers her secretive past and doesn’t know how to deal with it.

My Take on it – I’ve always had a bit of an aversion for this film based solely on the fact that it was the 5th nominee for Best Picture in 2008 instead of either Wall-E (2008) or The Dark Knight (2008).

That doesn’t by any means make me think that this is a terrible film, it just isn’t as powerful as the other two mentioned earlier.

That being said…

I really enjoyed the way that this film essentially tells us two completely different stories with very diverse points to each of them.

The first story is one of young first love and how it can affect someone for years afterwards and the second one deals with how one deals with learning that parts of their past are littered with lies.

Both are told quite compellingly and by merging them together it gives the story an even more powerful message.

Kate Winslet is great here and she definitely carries most of the entire film all by herself whether via her sensual scenes at the beginning or her horrific ones later on as we see how things develop.

Her Oscar for Best Actress fr this role was quite deserving.

The moral themes explored here are ones that can easily occupy one’s mind for a while after viewing this film since they are ideas that one must continuously ponder in order to try to understand despite it being almost impossible to completely comprehend the why behind it all.

Bottom Line – Really liked the way that they essentially tell two completely different stories here; one a story of young love and the other how one deals with knowledge about the past.  Winslet is great here and definitely deserved her Oscar for Best Actress for this role because it is both sensual and also horrific at the the same time once you watch things unfold.  I’m not convinced that this film deserved a Best Picture nomination, because it isn’t as good as one would hope for it to be and due to the fact that it was the weakest of the 5 nominees that year while there were two excellent films overlooked by the Academy: Wall-E (2008) and The Dark Knight (2008).  The moral issues brought up in this film are ones that can be pondered over for a long time after watching it. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – In 2005, Kate Winslet appeared on the English TV comedy series “Extras” as a bawdy, irreverent version of “herself.” In that guise, she made fun of actors who do movies about the Holocaust specifically to try to win Oscars. Her “Kate Winslet” character denies that she is making a Holocaust movie for noble reasons like using her profile to keep the message alive about the Holocaust: “And I don’t think we really need another film about the Holocaust, do we? It’s like, how many have there been? You know, we get it – it was grim, move on. No, I’m doing it because I’ve noticed that if you do a film about the Holocaust – guaranteed Oscar! I’ve been nominated four times. Never won. The whole world is going ‘why hasn’t Winslet won one?’…That’s it. That’s why I’m doing it. Schindler’s Bloody List. The Pianist. Oscars coming out of their arse.” Three years later, Winslet made The Reader (in which she played a guard at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp) and did win an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy


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8 thoughts on “The Reader (2008)

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  5. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 2008 | MovieRob

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