The Reader, with Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes, is an absolutely Oscarworthy film. It is sincere, realistic, and moving with being melodramatic. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because there are important things I don’t want to give away if you haven’t seen it, but to summarize: It begins with Ralph Fiennes as a middle-aged man, who obviously has difficulty with relationships.
The bulk of the film takes place in his past, 1958 Berlin, when he, as 15 year old Michael, has a summer-long affair with a 35 year old woman, Hanna. She asks him to read to her from his school work. She leaves town without a word to Michael after the summer and he does not see her again until he is in law school in 1966. His seminar is attending a very-well publicized trial of thirteen women who are on trial for being Nazi guards at Auchwitz. There, he sees that one of the women is Hanna. How he deals with the presence of Hanna, the outcome of the trial, and how an adult Michael uses this traumatic episode as a focal point of his life, are all part of the profound story told here.
The movie haunted me for two days after, and I spent seemingly every moment trying to assess Hanna’s character, trying to deal with the workings of her mind–psychologically and physiolgically. Again, I can’t go on without giving away key plot elements. I highly recommend this film. I’d like to also read the novel, to see how the two compare and to see if I can gain more insight into this enigmatic character.