Monday, February 16, 2009
The Reader (vs. The Sleeper)
I am usually a sound sleeper, but I woke up in the middle of Sunday night (I guess around 4:00 a.m.) and had trouble going back to sleep. Weirdly, the problem was The Reader. We saw it at the Kelso Theater Pub Sunday night. I only knew a couple of things going into it: (a) Kate Winslet was in it and (b) it had something to do with the Holocaust.
To address those points first off: (a) Kate Winslet does an amazing job and (b) the film approaches the Holocaust from an unusual (and effective) angle.
There are jumps in time throughout the movie, but the main part of the story begins in Germany in 1958 when 15 year old Michael Berg (David Kross) falls ill and is helped by an older --as in probably around age 30-- Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet). When he returns later to thank her they begin an affair, and part of their time together includes Michael reading books such as Homer's The Odyssey and Chekhov's The Lady with the Little Dog to Hanna.
Have you seen those t-shirts and bumper stickers that say "Reading is Sexy"? This film takes that slogan to a whooooooooole new level.
Anyway, I won't go any further into the plot details, but as the story unfolds many layers of moral complexity are revealed. The story is haunting...
And this takes me back to 4:00 a.m.
I awoke thinking about things such as secrets, pride, group vs. individual guilt, and redemption. I also started thinking that choosing The Odyssey was no accident, as there was a parallel (at least to some degree) between Michael and Odysseus.
I've always said that the mark of a good film is if it rattles around in my brain for a while. So this film must be grrrreat if it woke me up from a sound sleep.