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The Reader (2008)

Kate Winslet , Ralph Fiennes , Stephen Daldry  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,156 customer reviews)

Price: $5.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Habich, David Kross, Susanne Lothar
  • Directors: Stephen Daldry
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: The Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,145 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Reader" on IMDb

Special Features

Deleted Scenes (11 Total)
Adapting A Timeless Masterpiece: Making The Reader
A Conversation With David Kross & Stephen Daldry
Kate Winslet On The Art of Aging Hanna Schmitz
A New Voice: A Look At Composer Nico Muhly
Coming To Grips With The Past: Pro

Editorial Reviews

What is the nature of guilt--and how can the human spirit survive when confronted with deep and horrifying truths? The Reader, a hushed and haunting meditation on these knotty questions, is sorrowful and shocking, yet leavened by a deep love story that is its heart. In postwar Germany, young schoolboy Michael (German actor David Cross) meets and begins a tender romance with the older, mysterious Hanna (Kate Winslet, whose performance is a revelation). The two make love hungrily in Hanna's shabby apartment, yet their true intimacy comes as Michael reads aloud to Hanna in bed, from his school assignments, textbooks, even comic books. Hanna delights in the readings, and Michael delights in Hanna.

Years later, the two cross paths again, and Michael (played as an adult by Ralph Fiennes) learns, slowly, horrifyingly, of acts that Hanna may have been involved in during the war. There is a war crimes trial, and the accused at one point asks the panel of prosecutors: "Well, what would you have done?" It is that question--as one German professor says later: "How can the next generation of Germans come to terms with the Holocaust?"--that is both heartbreaking and unanswerable. Winslet plays every shade of gray in her portrayal of Hanna, and Fiennes is riveting as the man who must rewrite history--his own and his country's--as he learns daily, hourly, of deeds that defy categorization, and morality. "No matter how much washing and scrubbing," one character says matter of factly, "some sins don't wash away." The Reader (with nods to similar films like Sophie's Choice and The English Patient dares to present that unnerving premise, without offering an easy solution. --A.T. Hurley

Stills from The Reader (Click for larger image)

Product Description

The Reader, set in post-WWII Germany, follows teenager Michael Berg as he engages in a passionate but secretive affair with an older woman named Hanna. Eight years after Hanna s disappearance, Michael is stunned to discover her again as she stands on trial for Nazi war crimes. The Reader is a haunting story about truth and reconciliation and how one generation comes to terms with the crimes of another. Kate Winslet won and Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her performance.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
154 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would you do? January 16, 2009
I have just seen The Reader and find the film fascinating. However, after reading some of the reviews posted below, I concluded that the timeline of events were missed by some viewers and that some were expecting a more tightly woven ending. I will address the former, but the latter is more like real life, composed of loose ends and no clear answers. I will refrain from giving away the plot twists, preferring to allow the viewer to enjoy the unfolding plot.

To clarify, the narrative timeline is important and the questions the story raises are still relevant. The male lead, Michael meets Winslet's character Hannah first in 1958, AFTER the war. Whatever she did in the war is part of her past when they have their affair. He would have been a small child in the war, he is fifteen when they meet, and in his early 20s in law school. Her sudden disappearances and many of her choices are dictated by a personal secret that has dire consequences later, when Michael, now a law student, sees her again in a courtroom.

The viewer must understand that post war Germany felt, and still feels shame over the Holocaust and faced serious challenges when it was over and the nation had to answer for crimes against humanity. It's difficult to say what any of us would do in the same circumstances. We were not there. Would a person be swept along? Would they rationalize? Would they act in fear? In habitual obedience? What role does ignorance play? Can someone who is capable of great kindness, even tenderness, also be capable of evil, of knowing unthinking cruelty? Does one act nullify the other? What is the punishment when a whole nation is held in thrall? It's all easy to answer from a point of safety and security.
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133 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisitely done, deep and emotionally draining April 16, 2009
[Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.]


There is a certain segment of the German mentality that is Hanna Schmidt. English Kate Winslet captures the intent of novelist Bernhard Schlink in her interpretation of the character. Hanna was an ordinary but proud woman of discipline who always did her duty, a woman without the ability to separate herself from what she knew was right and what was wrong, but a woman who was able to hide from herself what she did that was wrong.

She seduces fifteen-year-old Michael Berg. She finds him doubly useful as a reader of great literature. She knows it will not work. Of course how could it? She indulges herself but, being strong and proud, is able to divorce herself from him emotionally when the time comes, as it must. When he reads D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover to her, she is genuinely offended at the open sexuality, but we viewers are taken back since what she is doing with 15-year-old Michael Berg is on the screen and naked before our eyes.

In a sense this is the somewhat familiar story of the young man of station and potential had briefly in his youth by the older woman who has neither station nor potential. They take advantage of one another for the time being, both knowing that they will move on. But young Michael is not fully aware of this old story because his station in life is, although above hers, still rather modest, and being fifteen and knowing a woman for the first time, he is in love as much as--or even more than--a fifteen-year-old can be.
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227 of 270 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A profoundly moving and intellectual masterpiece... March 16, 2009
I am writing this review on Oscar Nomination morning (although due to the fact that I refuse to post a review until the DVD has dropped you will be reading this much later) mostly due to my elation that it has been nominated for not only the marvelous performance by Kate Winslet (in the right category mind you) but also for Best Picture, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay. I've been chomping at the bit to write this review ever since I walked out of the theater a few weeks back, and since then I've seen the film a record three times and I would watch it again right now if I could. I've pondered this film, discussed this film, relived this film and can honestly label it the best film of the year and quite possibly one of the best films I've seen in a long time.

Sure, you can be quick to pinpoint it's supposed faults, and you can try and label it something that it is not, but if you allow your eyes to open and your mind to absorb you may be able to see this for what it really is; a masterpiece.

When sitting down to write this review I asked my friend how I was going to be able to do so without being redundant or irritating. I mean, how many different ways can you say masterpiece before someone says "I get the point, now move on"? I'm going to try and get all that out of the way right now so that my review will be palatable.

`The Reader' is a masterpiece.

Okay, I'm done now.

Having read Bernhard Schlink's beautiful novel I was really anticipating this film. I feel that Kate Winslet is the finest working actress today and this just seemed like such an ideal role for her (Oscar, if you pass her over this year I vow to never watch another telecast).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A wonderful movie overall. The acting is beautiful, the writing first rate.
Published 7 minutes ago by cariboupete
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good sleeper movie. Interesting plot, excellent production and dialogue. They handle a very sensitive plot with care.
Published 2 hours ago by TJ South
5.0 out of 5 stars The Title of the Film Says It All
Very intriguing story. Don't want to destroy the plot for others but I am still baffled by the outcome several weeks after viewing this film. Definitely for adult viewing. Read more
Published 8 hours ago by Woodson J. Savage
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't finish watching. Once the boy watched her get ...
Didn't finish watching. Once the boy watched her get dressed, i didn't want to continue watching... I want character development and relationship - not sex in a movie.
Published 9 hours ago by A. Mcgee
5.0 out of 5 stars best holocaust movie
This is one of the most heartwarming movies I've ever seen and maybe the best Holocaust movie for me (besides classic Schindler's List, of course). Read more
Published 12 hours ago by mary sohn
5.0 out of 5 stars It is beautifully done and most definitely worth the time
I doubt I will ever fully recover from watching this film; I've watched it many times and every time is more haunting than the last. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Taylor Hutchison
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good movie
Published 3 days ago by coz
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a good book that you can't put down
While not the best example of a Holocaust movie, THE READER transcends that by portraying a sensitive and emotionally moving story about a man's relationship with a woman he later... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Robert Hayes
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Pride can be a terrible thing...
Published 7 days ago by In Demand
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good story line
Published 8 days ago by LeeTaylor
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Some help understanding a part of THE READER Please?
I think Michael backed out of the prison visit because he finally had a sense of being angry with her, not just about war crimes but especially about the fact that she just up and left him with no explanation or consideration for his feelings. He finally saw her unabashed cruelty and... Read More
Jun 4, 2011 by Julie D. Kelemen |  See all 8 posts
why rwo week delay bluray
no idea
but it is a brilliant movie!
guess some will wait for e blueray
Apr 14, 2009 by Tan Hong Wei Andy |  See all 2 posts
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