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The Reader

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes
  • Format: Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Alliance
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,515 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ZGW9AG

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

183 of 190 people found the following review helpful By L. Nicolson on 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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146 of 165 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 16, 2009
Format: DVD
[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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237 of 280 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on March 16, 2009
Format: DVD
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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