Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 38
  2. Negative: 2 out of 38
  1. 88
    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.
  2. The Reader is significant because -- like another film opening today, "Valkyrie" -- it asks us to see not just the Jews but the whole German people as victims of the Holocaust, and to view Nazism as more a product of explicable ignorance than inexplicable evil.
  3. 91
    Kross and Winslet's intense performances and Daldry's deliberately placid control of tone make the material work as a love (and hate) story as well as a metaphor.
  4. Reviewed by: Jenni Miller
    Winslet deserves an Oscar for her amazing performance.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 118 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 40
  2. Negative: 5 out of 40
  1. Jan 11, 2014
    I would only say: bad, bad movie. The protagonist isn't able to act, and the screenplay was atrocious and very bad. The main theme was trivial and repetitive. There are many other better movies about this theme and I think The Reader isn't absolutely brilliant or good one. Bye! Full Review »
  2. May 24, 2013
    The Reader is an interesting little film. I love dramas and Stephen Daldry is one of my favorite directors (The Hours, Billy Elliot). The reason I say it's interesting is because it features some really great elements, but I don't think it's a "great" film. It's a gorgeous movie, Winslet is great (even though it's not her best performance imo), David Kross is surprisingly good, Daldry's direction is solid, and the supporting cast is quite nice, but overall the film suffers from some pacing problems and it felt a bit emotionally cold to me. I was reminded a lot of the English Patient, only The Reader isn't quite as epic or effective. Still worthy of a recommendation. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress. Full Review »
  3. Apr 27, 2013
    It is hard to like a film that is so depressing and dull at the same time with characters less interesting than blank wallpaper. The film doesn't give you anything to care about or notice besides the characters being naked half the time in the movie. Full Review »