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The Reader

January 11th, 2009 (09:37 pm)

current mood: thoughtful

Today I actually saw a movie in a movie theater, for the first time since last summer. I met a small group of my Bookcrossing friends there, including melydia and katekintail, and we went out for a meal afterward.

The movie was The Reader, about a 15-year-old boy in 1950s Germany who has a brief love affair with an older woman, played by the wonderful Kate Winslet. Just this evening, she won a Golden Globe for the performance.

He falls in love with her very quickly, though she's rather secretive, not giving away a lot about herself. Whenever they're together, she asks him to read literature aloud to her. One day she just disappears: he arrives at her apartment to find that she's moved out, with no warning. Years later, as a law student, he attends a war-crimes trial and is shocked to see that she's one of the defendants, six women who were SS guards at a Nazi death camp.

I enjoyed the movie. It's smart and understated, and Kate Winslet is particularly convincing. I was impressed with the fact that she wore no obvious makeup in the scenes in which she's in her 30s, and with the realistic "aging" that was done on her for the final scenes, when she's in her 60s. The film raises a lot of issues about guilt, pride, and forgiveness - specifically in terms of Germany's Nazi legacy - and about the power of literature. I have not read the book that it's based on, but I plan to.