The Reader

Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 38
  2. Negative: 2 out of 38

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    20
    Slow-acting poison. For the first third of the movie, you'll experience a not-unpleasant tingling in the extremities, giving way to an encroaching torpor. An hour in, your pupils will have shrunk to pinholes, and by the time the closing credits roll, you'll be capable only of a dim longing for the defibrillation paddles. Who would have thought a movie about a beautiful, frequently naked female Nazi could be so dull?
  2. 10
    The shallowest "serious" film to be reeling this year.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 139 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 44
  2. Negative: 6 out of 44
  1. HillaryP.
    Jan 10, 2009
    10
    To KL before ragging on this movie for the full frontal nudity of a teenager, maybe you should do some research, the "teenager" was born To KL before ragging on this movie for the full frontal nudity of a teenager, maybe you should do some research, the "teenager" was born 7/90, making him 18 and of legal age of consent to film what ever he wants...so I urge you to judge the film on its actual content and not your uninformed opinion. This is fiction people!! Full Review »
  2. Jul 31, 2015
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. The Reader dealt with the Holocaust without actually dealing with it. It took an individual experience and skated around the issues with its own, seemingly less powerful one. It had the potential to be more than a story, but instead it took the lesser way out – avoiding the true pain with the shame of a former Nazi's literacy.

    The Holocaust was so huge, but the problem facing Hanna (Kate Winslet) is so trivial in comparison. She had the opportunity to free herself from prison, yet her embarrassment kept her in. This is a storyline that was supposed to evoke emotion, yet I found myself not caring at all. I should have been conflicted, but instead I didn't care about her fate – much like the older Michael (Ralph Phiennes) didn't seem to either. There was passion and intrigue in the state of the affair, but it fizzled as soon as the lovers were separated. At times I felt like we were missing out by not seeing these events play out; we just saw the aftermath.

    Illiteracy is a real problem – one that definitely should be addressed, but perhaps not in a way that erases the struggles of those hurt in the concentration camps? Hanna seemed to prey on the prisoners the same way she preyed on Michael. Rewarding them for reading to her – albeit in much different ways. She was a predator, and in the end I didn't have any emotion towards her. I should have felt disgust, perhaps even sympathy, but it fell flat. "She never intended to leave," and I can't bring myself to care.
    Full Review »
  3. May 23, 2015
    7
    Fascinating, philosophical, gloomy, and ambiguous drama. One can't help but admire conviction of Hanna Schmitz. Kate Winslet as Schmitz shinesFascinating, philosophical, gloomy, and ambiguous drama. One can't help but admire conviction of Hanna Schmitz. Kate Winslet as Schmitz shines and sparkles in a role that's tailor made. The movie provokes the conscience of a cine-goer, and asks profound philosophical questions. The direction is deftly handled. The handling of penultimate scenes deserve kudos. Court room scenes are a stand out. Screenplay is wonderful.
    What one could object to is the extreme graphic nature of the movie. It could have been toned down. Nonetheless, it is a must watch !
    Full Review »