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The Reader

Unlock the mystery. 

Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Stephen Daldry 
Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Jeanette Hain, David Kross  
An image from The Reader

World War II has been the setting for many great moments on the silver screen, including Schindler's List, Downfall and Life is Beautiful, to name but a few. The Reader looks back at the guilt of a woman who did as she had to during the awful events of the Holocaust, and the feelings of the man who came to love her.

Passing through several steps in time, the story begins a decade after the war, with a chance meeting between a young Michael (Kross) and tram conductress Hanna (Winslet). Following long-term sickness, Michael frequently visits Hanna, forging a heated affair, tempered by reading her literature. This is all abruptly ended when, following a promotion, Hanna disappears without warning.

A further decade later, Michael (portrayed by Fiennes) is now a lawyer observing a trial regarding the maltreatment of Jewish women, by female members of the SS, when he is shocked to recognize Hanna in the defendants' dock.

The Reader marks the return of Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) after a six-year absence and shows him to be fully on the mark with this emotional tale, told from Michael's perspective. As such, both Kross and Fiennes put in fine parts as the lead role, but it is Kate Winslet who steals the piece with a performance truly worthy of her Academy Award.

Did Hanna really allow the deaths of hundreds of women? Is there a deeper reason for her current plight? For Michael, the mystery needs to be unlocked.

Robert Gardner

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Screenings of this film:

2008/2009 Summer Term (35mm)
2008/2009 Summer Term (35mm)