The Reader

Rated 4.0

Kate Winslet mines depths previously unexplored to create a character unique to her 25-film canon. In this movie, adapted from the novel Der Vorleser by Bernhard Schlink, Winslet plays Hanna Schmitz, whom we meet in late-’50s West Germany. She’s leading a solitary life in Berlin when she helps an ill lad huddled in the entrance of her apartment building. Fifteen-year-old Michael (David Kross) is smitten; 30-something Hanna is guarded, until he starts melting her iciness by reading her the books he’s studying in school. Their intense affair spans a summer, and their paths unexpectedly intersect a half-dozen years later when Michael, now a law student, attends a high-profile trial. One of the defendants is Hanna, and what he learns about his former lover shakes him to the core. Not even 18 for most of the filming, Kross holds his own opposite Winslet and holds up his end of a role played in middle age by Ralph Fiennes. Their Michael is the thread of the narrative, the titular character, but it’s Hanna—Winslet—who carries the film. Pageant Theatre. Rated R