Wednesday, January 27

Film Review: The Reader


Films about Nazis fascinate me, so any review I write about a film that touches on that period of German and world history is going to be slightly one sided. A better testament to this film (would be just about anything, but…) would be the amount of praise the lead has had heaped upon her for her performance, it is truly exceptional.


The Reader is a story of first love, and its simplicity, tainted by the realization that the woman who opened your eyes to love and was your first sexual experience was complicit in the murder of 300 Jewish prisoners of Auschwitz.

At moments this film is a comment on the guilt that I can only assume is carried by each successive German generation, a guilt that doesn’t have so much to do with the atrocities of the war itself but with the association to those who committed them. Sometimes those associations are strong, like that between a lovers or family; often it is that between kin and countryman.

It seems that no distance between is great enough when facing the terrible acts face on, even the usual distance between the viewer and the film doesn’t feel like enough when the holocaust is concerned. The Reader captures this feeling of inherited and communicable guilt and sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming.

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