22 user 35 critic

Stone Reader (2002)

PG-13 | | Documentary, Drama | January 2002 (USA)

On Disc

at Amazon

3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The accident made national headlines: a suburban mother drove the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway in upstate New York and crashed head-on into an SUV, killing herself and seven others. In ... See full summary »

Director: Liz Garbus
Stars: Jesse Temple, Brad Katinas, Diane Schuler
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Richard Lopez, Michael Perry
Lawless Heart (2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Three intersecting stories about people whose lives are affected by the death of a gay restaurateur.

Directors: Tom Hunsinger, Neil Hunter
Stars: Douglas Henshall, Tom Hollander, Bill Nighy
Quinceañera (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

As Magdalena's 15th birthday approaches, her simple, blissful life is complicated by the discovery that she's pregnant. Kicked out of her house, she finds a new family with her great-granduncle and gay cousin.

Directors: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Stars: Emily Rios, Jesse Garcia, Chalo González
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A bank manager with: (a) a gambling problem and (b) access to a multimillion dollar account gets into a messy situation. Based on the story of the largest one-man bank fraud in Canadian history.

Director: Richard Kwietniowski
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver, John Hurt
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Director Michael Winterbottom (Northam) attempts to shoot the adaptation of Laurence Sterne's essentially unfilmable novel, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman."

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Steve Coogan, Jeremy Northam, Rob Brydon
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Lower East Side teen-ager struggles to find some sanity while surrounded by an eccentric grandmother, a crazy new girlfriend, and a longing younger brother.

Director: Peter Sollett
Stars: Victor Rasuk, Donna Maldonado, Kevin Rivera
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An Iranian man drives his truck in search of someone who will quietly bury him under a cherry tree after he commits suicide.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Stars: Homayoun Ershadi, Abdolrahman Bagheri, Afshin Khorshid Bakhtiari
Off the Map (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An 11-year-old girl watches her father come down with a crippling depression. Over one summer, she learns answers to several mysteries and comes to terms with love and loss.

Director: Campbell Scott
Stars: Valentina de Angelis, Joan Allen, Sam Elliott
Sweet Land (2005)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1920, Inge, a German national, travels from Norway to rural Minnesota for her arranged marriage to Olaf, a Norwegian farmer; bureaucracy and prejudice cause major complications.

Director: Ali Selim
Stars: Elizabeth Reaser, Lois Smith, Patrick Heusinger
Moonlighting (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A Polish contractor, Nowak, leads a group of workmen to London so they can provide cheap labor for a government official based there. Nowak (Irons) has to manage the project and the men as ... See full summary »

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Eugene Lipinski, Jirí Stanislav
Tuvalu (1999)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a desolate and colorless landscape stands a dilapidated bathhouse run by a puffed-up blind man, his long-suffering wife, and their son Anton, who does all the work. He's lonely and ... See full summary »

Director: Veit Helmer
Stars: Denis Lavant, Chulpan Khamatova, Philippe Clay


Credited cast:
Carl Brandt
Frank Conroy
Bruce Dobler
Robert C.S. Downs
Robert Ellis
Leslie Fiedler ...
Ed Gorman
Robert Gottlieb
John Kashiwabara
(archive sound)
Mark Moskowitz
Dow Mossman
William Cotter Murray
(archive sound)
John Seelye


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

book | novel | quest | See All (3) »


Documentary | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language


Official Sites:



Release Date:

January 2002 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


References The Godfather (1972) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Brilliant, Enthralling, Unique Film Evening
12 February 2004 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

An e-mail today alerted me to a showing tonight at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY of Mark Moskowitz's intellectually seductive documentary, "Stone Reader." My decision to go turned out to be the best choice I've made in a long time where film is involved.

Decades ago, during the Vietnam War, a native of Iowa, Dal Mossman, went to college in his state and then endured, probably the right word, America's Parris Island for aspiring novelists, Iowa University's Writer's Studio. Toughness from mentors and an absence of sympathy, much less coddling, characterized the learning process.

Finishing that training, Mossman produced for publication a manuscript he had clearly been working on for a very long time, a dense, atmospheric, brilliant novel, "The Stones of Summer." Bobbs-Merrill published it, several reviews were very favorable and then after scant sales - despite New York Times Book Review section praise - the novel disappeared as did the author.

Documentarian Mark Moskowitz is a true lover of both books and reading, the two not being necessarily linked. He discovered Mossman's novel and began searching, mostly on the internet, for every available copy (there weren't many but he certainly cornered the market). Earning a substantial living largely by producing political campaign spots for TV, Moskowitz decided to do a film about both "The Stones of Summer" and the author and he set out to discover where Mossman had been for some thirty or so years. Probably he felt confident that with his resources he would soon discover the author's whereabouts or learn of his demise.

Moskowitz entered onto a peripatetic and clue-directed journey in which his quest for Mossman took him by car and plane to seek out any former instructors or friends who could shed light on his post-novel fate. Interestingly and frustratingly, virtually all who might have had contact with Mossman didn't remember him at all. The few who did hadn't followed his life after the novel's publication. His Manhattan former agent remembered his one-shot client but only after being shown a copy of the novel which he then recalled as brilliant but the victim of poor marketing by a second-tier publisher.

As Moskowitz searched for traces of Mossman, his vision and curiosity expanded and while the central goal stayed in focus the filmmaker became increasingly fascinated with the fate of "one novel" authors. The sequences become a study in the nature of literature and the personas of authors whose disappearances after one success turn out to be more common than one might have guessed. Several of the interviewees, highly regarded authors, recount their own bouts with depression and at least transient failure.

Smiling an awful lot, Moskowitz nonetheless is unmistakably an ambush documentarian and he gets some of his interviewees to speak very revealingly, in a few instances foolishly. This is not a guy to underestimate. (Several of his negative campaign shorts were shown after the film and they were effective, two brutally so.)

Eventually Moskowitz locates Mossman, still living in Iowa and now working at night bundling newspapers after a career as a welder. Mossman is remarkably open and forthcoming and his deep intelligence immediately impresses. So the film has its hoped for conclusion but the tale doesn't.

Moskowitz initially screened this film in small art houses including, over a year ago, the Jacob Burns Film Center. He brought Mossman out of his shell for that it was and the two became a dog-and-pony show with Moskowitz determined to bring "The Stones of Summer" back into print. And he succeeded. Where the original release may have enjoyed about 4000 sales, the new hardcover edition underwritten by Barnes & Noble has sold over 46,000 copies and a paperback edition comes out next week. B&N's CEO read "The Stones of Summer" and became an instant apostle for its reappearance.

But the truly extraordinary part of the evening was a long dialogue between New York Times film critic Janet Maslin with both Moskowitz and Mossman interspersed with audience questions. Mossman has clearly emerged from virtually hermit-like obscurity (he refers to himself in the film as an "introvert in residence") and is clever, funny AND very penetratingly smart. He has a firm friendship with the filmmaker but what in the end of the documentary is largely a Moskowitz-fashioned relationship has reached a plateau of respectful equality.

And the two are now committed to a project to bring "Lost Books" back into print. Bravo.

I've attended myriad post-film discussions but for interest and depth tonight's is in the top echelon.

In the lobby following the showing and discussion were DVDs for sale, one just of the documentary, the other a special three-disc set with much added material. I bought the latter which I'll explore this weekend.

"Stone Reader" is first a film for booklovers and committed readers but it's also a rare, perhaps unprecedented, filmic exploration of the pain and tribulations of fiction authorship in America. It deserves the widest circulation.


9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did you understand the part about the two books on ebay being sold ? puzzle_queen
Like the movie want to read the Stones of Summer. cmyklefty
Nice Movie filmdrift
Any idea when this movie is be on DVD? moonpieboy
Book Titles josephm-6
Where can I get the soundtrack? blainesullivan
Discuss Stone Reader (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page