The Reader

Like so many of the movies released during Award Season, this movie is NO fun! It is extremely well acted by Kate Winslet ("Revolutionary Road" and "Little Children"), but when is she not excellent?

Long story short, a German teenager, played by David Kross (German films), is coming down with scarlet fever as he struggles to get home. He encounters a fortyish woman (Winslet) who helps him home. When he recovers he goes to thank her and in very short order they are in bed together. She makes no bones about what he is there for, but he wants to have a "relationship." Eventually he convinces her to let him read books to her and she enjoys them immensely (he reads mostly while they are in the nude). Their mutual love for the written word is central to "The Reader."

Then she leaves town abruptly and he is bewildered and heartbroken.

Almost a decade later, he is a law student and his instructor takes the class to audit a war-crimes trial; our young man is horrified to see that she is one of the people on trial.

Many years after THAT, our now mature hero, played by Ralph Fiennes ("In Bruges" and "The English Patient"), has reestablished a connection with her. There is NO attempt to "match" the casting of the boy to that of the man. The young actor has sandy blondish hair, as does Fiennes, that seems to be the only thing they have in common. I found that disappointing.

This is a movie about ethical quandaries, secrets and lies, lust and love. You will probably have as many questions as you did if you read the book. I can't say I liked it but it WILL be on the slate for the Oscars!