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:: The Reader

The word ‘beautiful’ gets bandied about in film reviews a lot… normally in the wrong context. But the only way to truly describe ‘The Reader’ is a beautiful, sensual yet alarmingly dramatic film that will leave an imprint on its audience’s mind for a long time to come.

Set in Post WWII Germany, ‘The Reader’ tells the story of the relationship between Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet) and Michael Berg (David Kross and Ralph Fiennes). The story starts when a very ill 15-year-old Michael meets the much older Hanna Schmitz, she helps him and when he is better they begin an illicit affair that lasts one whole summer before he loses contact with her. Many years later Michael is studying law at university when he asked to study a current case consisted of six SS guards being trialed for the murder of 300 Jews. Michael is alarmed when he discovers Hanna’s involvement in the case. The story is told through the eyes of the older Michael as he reflects on his life and relationship with Hanna.

Director Steven Daldry (also director of ‘The Hours’ and ‘Billy Elliott’) does a fine job turning such a confronting storyline into something so sensual and beautiful to watch on the screen. After the film is completely played out you realise that even the way he chooses to show Hanna throughout the film is the work of a true genius director.

Likewise the film is made special by the acting performances of Kate Winslet and David Kross. The romance scenes between them are erotic, yet sensual and well handled by Kross who would have been under 18 when the film was in production. He pulls these scenes off with the maturity and expertise of an actor far beyond his age. These scenes would have been very confronting for such a young actor and he deserves to be praised for his performance.

But it is Winslet that steals the show here. As you would well expect Winslet also handles the confronting scenes extremely well and she makes the character of Hanna Schmitz a truly memorable one. Winslet’s performance in ‘The Reader’ proves that she is one of the finest actresses of our time; don’t be surprised if she adds an Oscar to the Golden Globe she has already one for this performance.

More passionate and romantic than ‘The Notebook’, as dramatic as ‘Schindlers’ and as stylish as ‘American Beauty’, ‘The Reader’ is a film that will play over your mind a long time after the credits have rolled.