The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Connecticut.
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.
Richard E. Grant
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
The Latin lines Michael quotes to Hanna are "Quo, quo scelesti ruitis? Aut cur dexteris / aptantur enses conditi?" These are the opening lines of Horace's 7th Epode, a short poem where he expresses outrage at the fact that his countrymen are still engaged in civil war. "Villains, where are you rushing to? Why are your hands / Grasping those swords that were sheathed?" (translation A.S. Kline). The Greek lines he quotes are the opening stanza of Sappho's 16th fragment: (transliterated) "Oi men ippeon stroton, oi de pesdon, / oi de naon phais' epi gan melainan / emmenai kalliston, ego de ken' ot- / to tis eratai". "Some say a host of horsemen, others of infantry, and others of ships, is the most beautiful thing on the dark earth: but I say, it is what you love." (translation Denys Page). See more »
When Michael reads Hannah the Odyssey, he reads from the Robert Fagles translation, not published until 1996. See more »
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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