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
Watch On
  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
    100
    Winslet deserves an Oscar for her amazing performance.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 135 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 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. 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 »
  3. Jan 21, 2015
    3
    Stephen Daldry's take on Bernhard Schlink's controversial novel is as cold a Holocaust movie as I've ever seen. The pseudo-intellectualStephen Daldry's take on Bernhard Schlink's controversial novel is as cold a Holocaust movie as I've ever seen. The pseudo-intellectual mumbo-jumbo the film exudes, cleverly disguises its hollow and empty premise. It embraces irrelevance and glosses over relevance. Had it not been for standout performances from Winslet, Fiennes and Kross, there would've been absolutely no reason to praise the movie. The Reader doesn't just fail as a character study but it also fails in being a meaningful film. Full Review »