User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 135 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 135
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  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 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!!
  2. gutierrezr.
    Dec 14, 2008
    10
    The best performance of the year miss kate winslet
  3. FrankO.
    Jan 10, 2009
    10
    This is on my top 10 list for 2008 right now. I found it a beautiful and powerful movie. It's like two separate films in one, the first half a love affair while the 2nd half was a resolution to the impact of secrets among ourselves. I strongly recommend this film for any serious movie goer.
  4. DaleM
    Jan 30, 2009
    10
    Excellent movie. I'm surprised at the low scores given this movie and the ridiculous reasons for the low scores. I suspect that most people still prefer movies with really bad guys and really good guys such as a superhero movie. This movie has good and bad mixed all up and I'm sure that blows most people's minds and sense of decency.
  5. JudyW.
    Jan 9, 2009
    10
    I loved the moral ambiguity. It is one of the most thought-provoking films I've seen in a long time and Kate Winslet is outstanding.
  6. FredK
    May 9, 2009
    10
    Most reviewers who panned the movie missed the point (and they would benefit from viewing the Director's feature included on the DVD). If you're expecting a classic Holocaust film, this isn't it. But neither is it 'soft on the Nazis', as some claim. Watch it and draw your own conclusions -- they may not come easily, but that's what separates great films from Most reviewers who panned the movie missed the point (and they would benefit from viewing the Director's feature included on the DVD). If you're expecting a classic Holocaust film, this isn't it. But neither is it 'soft on the Nazis', as some claim. Watch it and draw your own conclusions -- they may not come easily, but that's what separates great films from good ones. Expand
  7. SilroneL.
    Dec 13, 2008
    10
    incredible and powerfull movie. Winslet, Kross and Fiennes are amazing.
  8. thomass
    Apr 27, 2009
    10
    The Reader Professional reviewers had a hard time with this one. A majority were favorable, but like the minority, seemed unable to formulate what it was that they liked or disliked. I think this kind of review is a result of taboo on shame in our society. Like sex in Victorian society, doing it is one thing, but talking about it is another. Perhaps the film is mostly about the power of The Reader Professional reviewers had a hard time with this one. A majority were favorable, but like the minority, seemed unable to formulate what it was that they liked or disliked. I think this kind of review is a result of taboo on shame in our society. Like sex in Victorian society, doing it is one thing, but talking about it is another. Perhaps the film is mostly about the power of shame, both for the characters and for the audience. It repeatedly makes the point that the guilty are also innocent, and the innocent arealso guilty, because of shame and guilt. During the trial, Hanna is so ashamed of being illiterate that she accepts a life sentence. And Michael is so ashamed of his relationship with her that he doesn Expand
  9. TalitaE.
    Dec 14, 2008
    10
    I just loved everything. Perfect!
  10. adam
    Dec 26, 2008
    10
    It's a very good movie, and not dull at all.
  11. May 26, 2011
    10
    Like the cinematic equivalent of a Henry James novel: difficult but worth the effort. Kate Winslett turns in as subtle & convincing a performance as any I've seen: tender, harsh, sexy, angry, confused, and, finally, shattered by remorse. Ralph Fiennes may finally have wiped out my memory of his horrendous turn in "Ivanov" a few years back. Russian melancholy is too florid for him, butLike the cinematic equivalent of a Henry James novel: difficult but worth the effort. Kate Winslett turns in as subtle & convincing a performance as any I've seen: tender, harsh, sexy, angry, confused, and, finally, shattered by remorse. Ralph Fiennes may finally have wiped out my memory of his horrendous turn in "Ivanov" a few years back. Russian melancholy is too florid for him, but buttoned-up German melancholy is a great fit. What I like best about the film, though, is that it's ethically all shades of grey--NOT pro-Nazi but posing questions such as how ordinary people come to commit atrocities, which strikes me as a much more important question than Hollywood's favorite, "How much do we hate Nazis?" Not a film to be watched for diversion but for discussion and reflection. Wish there were more such. Expand
  12. KeeD.
    Mar 24, 2009
    9
    I completely agree with Maciej C. in one respect: Kate Winslet deserved her Oscar, but it should not have been for this movie. So nice to find a kindred spirit! Winslet's performance in "Revolutionary Road" was SHOCKINGLY good - awesome in the truest sense of the word. As for The Reader, I can understand the critics' opinions that parts of the 2nd half did not live up to the I completely agree with Maciej C. in one respect: Kate Winslet deserved her Oscar, but it should not have been for this movie. So nice to find a kindred spirit! Winslet's performance in "Revolutionary Road" was SHOCKINGLY good - awesome in the truest sense of the word. As for The Reader, I can understand the critics' opinions that parts of the 2nd half did not live up to the beginning. What I hate, though, is their seeming dislike of ambiguity. Hello! Ambiguity and a sense of the characters suffocating their emotions doesn't make for a bad, or even average, film. I found it heartbreaking in so many ways, and that's ok. Also, when critics are moralizing about their individual interpretations of The Holocaust, they are not reviewing a film. They're just trying to promote their opinions. This film doesn't FORCE you to have sympathy for a Nazi. It asks you, "DO YOU THINK you could have sympathy for a Nazi?" It draws no conclusions, just puts out plot points to make people think, and question their long-held opinions. I gave this film a 9 because it's not perfect. But in the world of current film-making, it is one of the best. Expand
  13. TonyB.
    Feb 5, 2009
    9
    "The Reader" is a fine piece of filmmaking. It is one of all too infrequent examples of a truly adult film that many discerning adults will appreciate. Those who prefer their characters to be all this or all that should stay away. The film's moral ambiguity will not be to their liking. Kate Winslet, the best actress of her generation, is superb and is supported by a superior cast.
  14. Michaell
    Mar 7, 2009
    9
    Great cast and great performances - especially by Winslet and Kross.
  15. JeffH.
    Jan 3, 2009
    9
    Wonderful movie with great acting.But isn't it illegal to show nude a 15-year old character even if the actor is over 18?
  16. BillyS.
    Jan 4, 2009
    9
    Above all, The Reader is a beautifully filmed love story and not the Holocaust movie that critics led me to believe it was. Kate Winslet is illuminous and heartbreaking as Anna, reminding me of Vanessa Redgrave as Julia, and if she gets a supporting actor nomination for this she will be the clear favorite. Ralph Feinnes is once again outstanding and deserves recognition but with In Above all, The Reader is a beautifully filmed love story and not the Holocaust movie that critics led me to believe it was. Kate Winslet is illuminous and heartbreaking as Anna, reminding me of Vanessa Redgrave as Julia, and if she gets a supporting actor nomination for this she will be the clear favorite. Ralph Feinnes is once again outstanding and deserves recognition but with In Bruges, The Duchess and The Reader he will slpit his own votes and go without again this year. Please give The Reader a chance, it's not Schindler's List or The Pianist, it is a love story for the ages! Expand
  17. katherynh
    Mar 18, 2009
    9
    Kate Winslet and David Kross give deeply sensitive portrayals of complex characters. Kudos to them.
  18. ChelseaJ
    Jun 30, 2009
    9
    This movie is a great depiction of the victimization of women the world over. This single woman is jailed for the heinous crimes of Nazi men, and her single supporter who could have helped her kept silent...Ah, men, how dispicably you are portrayed in this film. She is held responsible for men's wars and is punished for them...Ugh, it is truly reprehensible.
  19. anie
    Jan 22, 2009
    9
    Pretty good movie. first I was like OMG to much sex in. but you only have to wathed till the end to see all the beauty of the acting the script the images the ... all the movie. and for those who can't do the part of fiction and reality you know some actors can play characters younger than they are.
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
  1. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    60
    The Reader can feel stilted and abstract: the film's only flesh-and-blood characters spend half the movie separated. But its emotional impact sneaks up on you. The Reader asks tough questions, and, to its credit, provides no easy answers.
  2. An engaging period drama. But German postwar guilt is not the most winning subject matter for the holiday season.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    Stephen Daldry's film is sensitively realized and dramatically absorbing, but comes across as an essentially cerebral experience without gut impact.