Friday, January 2, 2009

The Reader

Kate Winslet plays Hannah, a German woman of very Germanic temperament who finds a sick boy throwing up in the entrance to her building. She assists him home. He returns to find her to thank her and an affair results. He reads to her as she insists. From there, it develops into an odd holocaust themed moved that tends to confuse in more than one way. I find a lot of holocaust films to be contrived and forced into plots where it does not belong. This movie was great with just the story of the impact of the older woman. Ralph Fiennes plays the adult that the youth becomes- and he has had a life of great sadness because of his grief for his first lover-Hannah. This is a very well done, very deep movie. If all you take away is the surface story, then you have missed the real story. Winslet plays a very unlikeable character- a very self- absorbed, manipulative woman who uses a teen aged boy to get what she wants. His life is of little interest to her- not then and not ever. He, on the other hand, does not have normal relationships again. Does he punish her by not saving her when he has the chance to? Only the viewer can decide his motives. And Winslet has lost a solid 30 pounds. At least. So much for not caring what people thought of her weight. It is an intriguing film- but not for the nazi part- but for the emotional part. It would be wise to fire the makeup artist- at times, Winslet looks like they put paste on her face and shoved it in flour. And the story makes little sense chronologically. The dates and ages are ALL over the place. If you go by dates given, she is only a few years older, but the film implies she is 16 years older. He is 16 in 1943, but in law school as a very young man in 1966? I couldn't figure that out unless I just totally screwed it up. They say they meet in post war Germany in the plot summary, but she quits her job and leaves and goes to work in a concentration camp- how can that be post war? Ugh. The first part of the movie didn't cost a thing for wardrobe- Winslet and Kross are naked. So, there is no excuse for such confusion in a film. Dates can be kept straight by counting on your fingers if you have to.