Movie Review: The Reader (2008)

As expected, The Reader was shown here in Manila after the 81st Academy Awards, where it was nominated for the Best Picture award and lead star Kate Winslet won the Best Actress award (Film distributors usually would time critically acclaimed films after it gets some Oscar publicity here).

And true enough, the ploy worked-- my girlfriend & I had to change cinemas because The Reader on the first cinema we went to was sold out! I could't believe that The Reader would generate that much interest here.

But on to the review: The Reader is a subtle drama about a May-December love affair set in Germany. Like most of the nominated films, the story spans decades as we see the journey and tragedy of Hanna Schmitz and Michael Berg. The film has three acts, and it the feel of each differ-- it jumps from sensual, to intense, to depressing. Director Stephen Daldry does a fine job, but hits the brakes during the second act.

Kate Winslet's performance was great and she really set the tome for the film. She didn't have a consistently intense performance (unlike Meryl Streep in Doubt), but I guess the Academy saw the undercurrent and pain in her performance.

The Reader is no feel-good film by all means (hint: It's a film that touches on the Holocaust), but it's the tragedy that makes it good.

Rating: 4/5

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