Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Movie Review: The Reader

"The Reader" is about an allegedly 15 year old boy having a fling with a 30-something or older woman. He reads to her a lot. You manage to figure out pretty quick that she can't read. For the first 30-45 minutes of the movie you're wondering if this is really just soft core porn made to promote your local library. Then they break up and he goes to law school. While there he gets to go witness the trial of a Nazi guard. Wadda ya know the woman he used to date is the leading defendant. The other guards set her up to take the fall. She could prove that she wasn't the ring leader by admitting she can't write but decides to spend life in prison instead. Years later the male lead, now a lawyer with a family, starts recording books and sending them to her in prison. She gets a book from the library and vandalizes it while learning to read. She starts to write to him, but he won't write back. But the prison guards get in touch with him because someone needs to take care of her now that she's getting out. He reluctantly agrees to help her, but won't take care of her. The woman, realizing that this one person who she thought could forgive her can't get past her Nazi background despite his feelings for her, hangs herself.

Yummy kept trying to figure out what the message was behind "The Reader".
I could see where the male lead didn't get in the lake with his friends until he broke up with the Nazi chick. So there may have been a symbolic "other fish in the sea" type thing.
There was a possible comparison between prison and concentration camps. You don't learn anything in either place. The former guard was now the prisoner.
Maybe that writing in books is better than burning them.
Kate Winslet has really dark nipples.
I dunno.

I suspected that this movie would win the Academy Award for best movie because it was the lamest of the lot. Oh, sorry, I should say it was a long and sad life story that involved Nazis and illiteracy.

I'm glad I saw it but wouldn't get it on DVD.


lacochran said...

I didn't see the movie. I did read the book and I thought the whole point of the story was to say that people are complex. The boy has very real mixed emotions.

People like to think of the Nazis as monsters. They were people. Complex people.

GreenCanary said...

I tried so hard to figure out what the movie was ABOUT. I could accept it as a whole, but when I started to look at the individual pieces, I couldn't understand what the overriding theme was. There is the boy, a boy that didn't seem to fit in with his peers, who shacks up with an older woman that takes charge of his afternoons. He seems to gain confidence from their relationship, but his interaction with his peers suffers as a result. He bathes a lot with Kate Winslet, but never swims with his cute bikini-clad classmate in the lake with all of the other students. When the relationship with Winslet ends, there's a dramatic scene in which the boy takes off his shoes and lays them to the side, and then swims naked in the lake alone. During the trial of Winslet, the boy goes to Auschwitz looking for something. Perhaps an explanation? In a dramatic scene, he walks through a room full of shoes, taken from the Jewish prisoners before the were sent to the gas chambers, piled to the ceiling. Later, when Winslet goes to hang herself in prison, she deliberately removes her shoes and places them to side in a move that very much resembles that made by the boy years earlier. What's the significance of the shoes? Is there a significance? Or the water? What's with the all of the water? The bathing, the swimming, the rain. And the reading? There's all of this reading and not reading happening. What's with the reading/not reading? All in all, I just didn't get it. But I do agree that Kate Winslet has very dark nipples.

Sweetly Single said...

this might be strange to say...but I'm still stuck on the whole 30 year old having a love affair with a 15 year old thing.