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Based on 38 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 35 )
  • 75
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    Winslet's fierce, unerring portrayal goes beyond acting, becoming a provocation that will keep you up nights. show more

  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    A film made with high aspirations and more than the usual commitment but one that, after an arresting beginning, changes into a passive rumination. show more

  • 75
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    Though the effort is uneven, it's a well-acted romance that becomes a less compelling courtroom drama. show more

  • 60
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    The cast is superb: especially Kate Winslet, who transcends, by far, the limits of her character's narrow soul. Yet The Reader remains schematic, and ultimately reductive. show more

  • 75
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    With this film Daldry, previously the director of "Billy Elliot" and "The Hours," proves himself the screen's reigning master at showing passion thwarted or repressed. show more

  • 60
    Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News

    Provocatively intentioned, The Reader is a movie worth seeing - the kind of film you'll think about for days afterward. But when all is said and done, you're likely to wonder why the impact wasn't greater still. show more

  • 70
    Kirk Honeycutt The Hollywood Reporter

    An engaging period drama. But German postwar guilt is not the most winning subject matter for the holiday season. show more

  • 100

    Winslet deserves an Oscar for her amazing performance. show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    The crucial decision in The Reader is made by a 24-year-old youth, who has information that might help a woman about to be sentenced to life in prison, but withholds it. He is ashamed to reveal his affair with this woman. By making this decision, he shifts the film's focus from the subject of German guilt about the Holocaust and turns it on the human race in general. show more

  • 75
    James Berardinelli ReelViews

    The Reader is closer to a near miss than a rousing success but, on balance, this is still worth seeing for those who enjoy complexity and moral ambiguity within the context of a melodrama. show more

  • August 14, 2009 ferniedog2u
    Report This User

    At first, this film didn't appeal to me very much due to the content of the pedophile sex and whatnot. But as a moviegoer and an actor, I've always been taught to look beyond the surface of the film and see what is really being brought out. What grew on me was that the movie was more about the pain the kid grew with as a consequence of his affair with the Nazi woman. It carried with him and affected him through time and his life. I kinda relate in that regard, don't we all? The things we suffer through grow and grow and weaken us as we age. Especially when they catch us when we are so young and vulnerable. I'ts a life story. One that has a good lesson which I found valuable.

  • July 16, 2009 cwagozorro
    Report This User

    How can so many people like a movie about a pedophile Nazi? The first half hour or so of child sex was not "romantic", it was disgusting. If the whole pedophile beginning wasn't bad enough they try to make you feel bad for a Nazi, who was responsible for killing hundreds of Jews, just because she is illiterate and doesn't own up to it. I guess I'm just different then most people, I'm not into illiterate Nazi pedophile movies. Here's an observation; Hitler killed himself, killed Jews, and tried to have sex with his under age niece should we make a movie about him and give it awards?

  • March 17, 2009 fymbulwinter
    Report This User

    @perrydcox: Because everyone knows that nobody had any sex during WW2. To claim otherwise is offensive. Get thee back to your musty cloister.

  • March 03, 2009 Perry Cox
    Report This User

    I think every holocaust survivor should be insulted by the pornographic angle depicted about this already dreadful period of history. What a mess. They should've titled it, "The Breeder" or "Whoreocaust Survivor". She murdered victims during her tenure with the Nazi's and then murded the emotional life of the young man after that. Hangin herself was the only thing she did right!

  • February 28, 2009 B Dolls
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  • February 28, 2009 CWallwork
    Report This User

    While not a prude, I was very disappointed and distracted by the amount of nudity. I think it could have had the same impact without all of that. Seriously, I was so disappointed with all of the visual sex scenes, that I was distracted through the rest of the movie, just thinking about how unnecessary they were. I would love my teenage children to see it with me, so that I could accentuate how important things you do in your early life really affect your future. But I couldn't take them to see this beautiful story because of the amount of nudity that would just be hard to sit through with my 15, 17, or even 20 year old. Gran Torino was amazing if even for just that reason - telling a story that you know includes violence and sex, but without showing either. And what a great story to sit through with the young people without a worry of embarassment or upset.

  • February 25, 2009 V Amiel
    Report This User

    The more I think, the more I abhore sympathy the movie pushed onto me for the concentration camp kapo. Instead of admitting her illiteracy, she oh, so heroically succumbs to shame and opts for life sentence and not mere 4 years her friends got for the same sending hundreds of women to gas chambers and burning 300 alive in a church. That of course is nothing: thereal tragedy of the movie is the life-long torment of the boy, who could save her but kept quiet out of also his own shame. Spare me the compassion! Why not a sequel: young girl meets a loving elderly gentleman, has hard-core satisfying sex with him, and discovers he is the death doctor Mengele from Auschwitz. Poor girl suffers: bad man but oh, so charming. Oscar plus first prize at Gestapo reunion...

  • February 24, 2009 uneamie22
    Report This User

    While I found the beginning of this movie a bit over done with their love affair and their sex encounters being the main focus...I guess they needed that to draw you into the couples strange love connection I don't any event, the movie grew more intense as time went on and as the pieces started to fit together better I was drawn in and enjoyed the movie better, but felt there were too many places where the viewer was forced to come up with their own answers to some of the decisions this boy, this man made. The acting was superb....especially Kate Winslett who did a stunning performance and deserved her Oscar for sure.

  • February 19, 2009 ABux881580
    Report This User

    I saw this movie this afternoon, very good, very heavy but good. A must see, I hope it wins Sunday at least something.

  • February 17, 2009 teachsing
    Report This User

    Did anyone else notice that young Michael had brown eyes while older Michael had blue? A little thing like that in an otherwise flawlessly filmed movie, yet they missed that. So did the reviewers. Surprising. Also felt that the Jewish woman, who, in the end cluched a tin as a symbol of her lost youth, was made to be very wealthy...a real stereotype contrast to Winslet's Schmitz working class character. Why did they do that? Most Holocaust survivors were hardly wealthy - nor did they become so. But this movie portrayed her, the symbol of the Holocaust survivor, as a stereotype of Nazi Germans view of Jews. Shame on the Weinstein Brothers....


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