"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, November 21, 2009

SNMR 7.15: "The Reader"


The year is 1958 post World War II Berlin. A 16 year old boy is ill and vomiting in the heavy rain. An older woman helps him out, cleans him up and helps him home. Three months later the boy, Michael (David Kross) goes back to find and thank Hanna, the woman (Kate Winslet) who helped him. Soon a relationship develops between the two and they begin to meet regularly for sex. On one occasion Michael begins to read to Hannah, which she enjoys. Mysteriously Hanna disappears and their relationship ends. A few years later they meet again, though he is a law student and is surprised that she is on trial for Nazi war crimes, a part of her life he had no idea about. He holds a key piece of evidence that could sway the trial but will he use it?

I had been eyeing this movie in the store and online and had been tempted to buy it because I'm a fan of Kate Winslet and have been for years. Finally I saw it in the library and decided to borrow it. The movie was good but I'm glad I didn't buy it.

The story is told from the perspective of an older Michael, played by Ralph Fiennes, but not in the form of narrative. Rather it is told from memory flashbacks as a youth, until a certain point in the film is reached. This can be a cliched way to tell a story but it works well enough here.

Winslet, as always, gives an outstanding performance. I was thrilled earlier this year when she won the Academy Award for her role in this film, though I would dare say she's had other more Oscar-worthy roles than this. Fiennes gives a solid if unspectacular performance and young German actor David Kross is outstanding. Impressive it is that he basically learned English in order to play this role.

Director Steven Daldry, Oscar nominated here for the third time for Best Director, does a great job in keeping the story moving at a reasonable pace. I was pleased to learn in the DVD extras that Dalry worked closely with the author and screenwriter as well as collaborating with the actors as the movie was being filmed. Apparently the novel is big in Germany and may be a worthwhile read at some point.

The extras on the DVD were excellent and enhanced my enjoyment of this movie. This is the kind of film that I'm glad I have watched but is not one I can see owning or watching again any time soon.

**** out of *****

The Reader (2008, R, 124 minutes), starring Kate Winslet, David Kross and Ralph Fiennes. Based onthe novel by Bernhard Schlink. Screenplay by David Hare. Directed by Stephen Daldry. Kate Winslet won the 2009 Best Actress Oscar for her role in this movie.



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