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The Reader (2008)

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Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
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1,610 ( 467)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 25 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Friederike Becht ...
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Peter Berg
Frieder Venus ...
Doctor
Marie-Anne Fliegel ...
Hanna's Neighbour (as Marie Anne Fliegel)
Hendrik Arnst ...
Woodyard Worker
Rainer Sellien ...
Torsten Michaelis ...
Sports Master
Moritz Grove ...
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Storyline

THE READER opens in post-war Germany when teenager Michael Berg becomes ill and is helped home by Hanna, a stranger twice his age. Michael recovers from scarlet fever and seeks out Hanna to thank her. The two are quickly drawn into a passionate but secretive affair. Michael discovers that Hanna loves being read to and their physical relationship deepens. Hanna is enthralled as Michael reads to her from "The Odyssey," "Huck Finn" and "The Lady with the Little Dog." Despite their intense bond, Hanna mysteriously disappears one day and Michael is left confused and heartbroken. Eight years later, while Michael is a law student observing the Nazi war crime trials, he is stunned to find Hanna back in his life - this time as a defendant in the courtroom. As Hanna's past is revealed, Michael uncovers a deep secret that will impact both of their lives. THE READER is a story about truth and reconciliation, about how one generation comes to terms with the crimes of another. Written by The Weinstein Company

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Behind the mystery lies a truth that will make you question everything you know. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some scenes of sexuality and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

30 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Leitor  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$168,051 (USA) (12 December 2008)

Gross:

$34,180,954 (USA) (1 May 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Production designer Brigitte Broch emigrated from her native Germany in the early 1990s, mainly out of protest at the atrocities that her previous generation committed or tolerated during World War II, settling in Mexico. The Reader (2008) marks the first time she returned to Germany. See more »

Goofs

When Michael reads Hannah the Odyssey, he reads from the Robert Fagles translation, not published until 1996. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Brigitte: You didn't wake me.
Michael Berg: You were sleeping.
Brigitte: You let me sleep because you can't bear to have breakfast with me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits, other than the studio logo. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 85th Annual Academy Awards (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Making Time
Written by Eddie Phillips (as Edwin Phillips) and Kenny Pickett (as Kenneth Pickett)
Performed by The Creation (as Creation)
Courtesy of Polydor Records Ltd. (U.K.)
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Reading, Writing and the Wonderful Kate
10 December 2008 | by (Silver Lake, CA) – See all my reviews

David Hare wrote one of my favorite female characters in "Plenty", Meryl Streep brought her to life in the most extraordinary way. Here, Hare writes another power house female character. It doesn't have the intellectual aspirations of "Plenty" but there is also a form of mental illness in his character. Kate Winslet is magnificent. Her early scenes with the wonderful David Kross are filled with compelling, contradictory and totally believable undertones. My misgivings are to be pinned on Stephen Daldry, the director. His sins as a filmmaker start to become a sort of trade mark, visible and palpable in the moving "Billy Elliot" and the shattering "The Hours" I can't quite pinpoint what it is but in "The Reader" that element is more obvious than in the other two. Maybe it has to do with loftiness. There are moments so frustratingly long and slow here that he lost me in more than one occasion. In any case, the cast makes this film a rewarding experience. Besides Kate Winslet and David Kross. The tortured Ralph Finnes has a couple of wonderful moments as well as Bruno Ganz and Lina Olin in a dual role.


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