The Reader

We have been looking forward to watching this for a while now, but never got around to it until last night.  I was excited to see Kate Winslet’s performance, as I had heard nothing but amazing reviews.  She was absolutely terrific, no question about it.  She definitely earned the hype and all of the recognition she got.  I remember a buddy of mine saying that it was the greatest female performance he’d ever seen, and I think that overshoots the mark, but she definitely buoyed the movie by her presence alone.  Overall, it was a very sad flick, as most WWII movies are bound to be, especially when the Holocaust is involved.  I was engrossed in the film almost immediately, though, despite no mention of the war being made until the film’s final act.  I thought the moments between Winslet and the boy were touching, yet strange.  I was a little perplexed by some elements of the story at first, but I think they worked themselves out very well.  I’m still trying to digest what the movie was actually about, though.  There was a lot there, I’m just working through it all.  It was obviously well-made, had a beautiful soundtrack, but the story certainly is serviced by the performances.  I’m not sure it would have been all that great without Winslet, in particular.  But I’m rambling.  I’m definitely glad I watched it, but there was a LOT of meaningless nudity, so be VERY careful, if you have hang-ups about that sort of thing.

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2 Responses to “The Reader”

  1. Joshua Says:

    There’s a decent amount of the film that aims at putting together a pretty nuanced picture of justice. The “incarceration” of the Jews in the burning building is likened to the incarceration of Hannah; there is great fear in both instances of “what will happen if we don’t.” “What will happen if we don’t” is a pylon that upholds conservative justice theories, and it’s largely speculative, fearful and doesn’t aim to help human beings but rather “society.” The movie pretty harshly takes that kind of justice to task.

  2. jmmelton Says:

    I like that. I also noticed that they mention “German guilt” which made me think of “White guilt” which is all BS, this far removed from either the Holocaust or the Civil War. On the board in the seminars they even had written “affirmative action” which I’m sure in post-war Germany was a hot topic. I liked what the other student had to say though – everyone in Germany knew what was going on, and no one did anything…in fact, most probably supported Hitler at the time, either out of fear or general agreement. Why ONLY punish these women? Why not everyone? I think it could have delved into a few of these themes a bit better, though your points have merit and they did that well.

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