For the first 45 minutes of 2008's The Reader,
you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Sure, it is an interesting
enough story of a young man's involvement with an older woman, but is it
worth 12 Oscar wins and 23 nominations? The answer is probably yes,
certainly in the case of Kate Winslet who won Best Performance by an
Actress in a Leading Role.
In Germany shortly after the end of World War
2, teenager Michael falls seriously ill on his way home from school, and
is befriended by Hanna (Kate Winslet), who helps him get home. Hanna is a
working-class woman twice Michael's age, a conductor on a streetcar.
After recovering from scarlet fever, Michael
seeks Hanna out only to thank her, but is fascinated by her, and a
secretive but passionate affair soon ensues. As the relationship grows,
Michael discovers that Hanna loves being read to, and he reads to her from
classics and popular works. Both their physical and emotional bonds grow,
until one day Hanna simply disappears. Michael is heartbroken.
Eight years later and now a law student,
Michael is observing the Nazi war crime trails when he is shocked to
discover that Hanna is one of the defendants. How Hanna's past is
revealed, and how Michael deals with it, make up the balance of this
Once you've seen The Reader, you'll probably
agree with the awards. It is an intricate and thoroughly well done story
containing great character studies, and a great look at how people deal
with one another. I enjoyed it. The caps are from the Blu-ray version.