"It's in the past, I didn't look into my past until the trial."
The Reader was fantastic.
All of the films that I have seen this season have been borderline, if not completely, amazing.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button...
and now The Reader.
The only letdown for me was Changeling, it sucked. Not only was it poorly acted but the plot was incredibly predictable and though I'm sure everyone could look up the ending, I need the middle to have a bit of mystery. Though I must say, the costuming was pretty (I liked her hat).
The Reader (which I saw tonight) was complicated, much like life, and I thought that was brilliant. There was no room for pure, unadulterated, judgment. If you liked a character, the story gave you reason not to and vice versa. I was also impressed with the persistence of the story, there wasn't room for parody. I don't want to spoil the film, but I will tell you one thing... if anyone had just yelled "can't read" in the film, it would have a) ended, b) become a comedy c) had the entire production in deep doo doo because they would have made a joke of the holocaust. The film was well done and Kate Winslet proves to still get naked 12 years after the Titanic went down and still impress everyone (no matter what, it must be cold to do half of a movie naked...especially when it's always around water!).
This movie just jumped in line with a long list of other magnificent films to make me feel intimidated and inspired all at once. The cinematography was beautiful, capturing the essence of post war Germany in various stages as well at the German countryside. There were details in the characterization and movement that were terrific choices. At one point, after a fight between the young Michael Berg (David Kross) and Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet), Hanna washes Michael in the tub. The washing is not romantic or seductive, it isn't even friendly. It is the first hint to Hanna's job as a guard for the SS at Auschwitz. She washes him with precision and haste. It is a choice made by the actor, director or maybe by accident that poses the man as a victim and as less than a man (much like the Nazis considered the Jews/prisoners they kept and would sterilize). Though we as the audience aren't privy to her past ("it happened in the past" echoes loudly right now) we are granted a sneek peek into the future provided by her past.
I now want to read the book. I feel like the acting in this movie was so profound that it may hold up and not ruin the text (unlike Angels and Demons which is forever ruined in my mind, thanks Tom Hanks bad haircut...lol).
There are only two negatives I have to say about the film.
#1. The old lady makeup wasn't that great. Both the Jewish Mother in the trial and Kate Winslet were made to look older in the movie. They tried to make them old, but they really just looked like powder had dropped on them. Unimpressed.
#2 The glorification that almost happened of a Nazi. It is a very thin line and a very grey area they attempted to tackle here. Winslet becomes lovable at times when it might be considered bad taste. I thought it complicated things and humanized the other side (which doesn't happen enough... too soon or too proud... I don't know). I liked that you couldn't pass judgment on anyone, so I give it a thumbs up, though I've already talked to people who didn't like that aspect of the movie.
I recommend this film to anyone who is allowed to see a rated "R" movie. It makes you think, it makes you feel and it is well done. (Also--for all you Ralph Fiennes phans *hehe see how I did that* out there, he was outstanding!)