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  • The Reader [DVD] [2008]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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The Reader [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Actors: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz, Jeanette Hain, David Kross
  • Directors: Stephen Daldry
  • Writers: Bernhard Schlink, David Hare
  • Producers: Anthony Minghella, Arno Neubauer, Bob Weinstein, Charlie Woebcken, Christoph Fisser
  • Format: Colour, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: 14 April 2009
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,324 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Daldry/Winslet/Fiennes ~ Reader


What is the nature of guilt--and how can the human spirit survive when confronted with deep and horrifying truths? The Reader, a hushed and haunting meditation on these knotty questions, is sorrowful and shocking, yet leavened by a deep love story that is its heart. In postwar Germany, young schoolboy Michael (German actor David Cross) meets and begins a tender romance with the older, mysterious Hanna (Kate Winslet, whose performance is a revelation). The two make love hungrily in Hanna's shabby apartment, yet their true intimacy comes as Michael reads aloud to Hanna in bed, from his school assignments, textbooks, even comic books. Hanna delights in the readings, and Michael delights in Hanna. Years later, the two cross paths again, and Michael (played as an adult by Ralph Fiennes) learns, slowly, horrifyingly, of acts that Hanna may have been involved in during the war. There is a war crimes trial, and the accused at one point asks the panel of prosecutors: "Well, what would you have done?" It is that question--as one German professor says later: "How can the next generation of Germans come to terms with the Holocaust?"--that is both heartbreaking and unanswerable. Winslet plays every shade of gray in her portrayal of Hanna, and Fiennes is riveting as the man who must rewrite history--his own and his country's--as he learns daily, hourly, of deeds that defy categorization, and morality. "No matter how much washing and scrubbing," one character says matter of factly, "some sins don't wash away." The Reader (with nods to similar films like Sophie's Choice and The English Patient dares to present that unnerving premise, without offering an easy solution. --A.T. Hurley --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richy Rich on 3 Feb. 2011
Format: DVD
Wow; what a brilliant film!

Admittedly I am a fan of Kate Winslet so I was looking forward to watching this movie with great anticipation. It didn't let me down (unlike 'Revolitionary Road') even if, at times, I felt disturbed and uneasy with its content. (Kate's performance is so good that sometimes you find yourself wanting to forgive Hanna for her past).

The story recounts a former Nazi prison guard's attrocities alongside an unlikely relationship with a man she was a lover to when he was still adolescent. A difficult storeyline is beautifully portrayed and pulls your emotions in many directions. The acting is superb, the narrative is powerful and the cinematography excellent.

Now - I have read some of the one star/negative reviews accorded to this film and I have to say that, in my opinion, all of them have missed the point. The is not a film trying to evoke empathy for a Nazi criminal but one that attempts to portray the frailties and failings of the human condition. I have to say it achieves this remarkably well and I was captivated by every minute of it; just a stunning film!
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164 of 173 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Jarvis on 8 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD
The Reader is adapted from a novel of the same name by Bernhard Schlink (a novel I have not read, and one I must add to my ever growing reading list), whether it is a faithful adaptation, I cannot say. Regardless, the film has powerful messages and raises important moral questions which are incredibly difficult to answer.

The basic plot is easy enough to lay out: it is 1950's Germany; a young boy of fifteen, Michael Berg (David Kross), is sick on the streets, when an older woman in her late thirties, Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet), finds him and helps him home. After recovering from his illness, Michael goes back to thank Hannah in her home, and an affair begins. It lasts for one summer, and Hanna abruptly leaves without a word. Six years later, Michael, now a law student, comes across his former lover in a war trial, where Hanna is one of six female defendants - all of whom are former guards of the concentration camps. A secret, that Hanna deems so shameful that she would rather be found guilty of mass murder than disclose it, secures the tragedy of this highly emotive and moving film.

The film's narrative is told through flashbacks (though the narrative eventually catches up to the present time) from the older Michael Berg (Ralph Fiennes) and although it was so many years ago, although it was only one summer in his youth, it becomes evident that he has never moved on and has affected his whole life.

The first warning I would give about this film is to not watch it with your parents or other relatives - the first hour of the film has very graphic sex scenes and includes full frontal male nudity.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By underthethumb VINE VOICE on 8 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD
The Reader, adapted from the novel by Bernhard Schlink is one of the most powerful and thought provoking films that I can ever remember seeing. It poses questions both in it's story and in the discussions among the law students that have been taboo for the past seventy years. While never attempting to make an excuse for the attrocities committed in the concentration camps it does ask whether the right people were punished afterwards or whether it was more a case of finding anybody to shift the blame to.

Kate Winslett was rightly rewarded for her portrayal of Hanna, a former prison camp guard who through her pride takes the brunt of the blame for a massacre. Ralph Fiennes gives another sad and splendid performance as her former lover.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Eastdean on 31 Aug. 2010
Format: DVD
This film brought together two of my favourite subjects, Kate Winslet and World War II. This is a haunting film that is split into three separate periods of time. I won't go into the storyline, that is easy enough to find out about, but Kate Winslet's performance is truly worthy of the Oscar she received for it.

During the early part of the film, Winslet has a love affair with a teenage boy, the awkwardness in their relationship is excellently portrayed and you feel uncomfortable watching this young man fall head over heels for a distant older woman. The horrors of Winslet's past comes into the open and the depiction of a woman performing inhumane acts in the genuine belief that she was only following orders is unnerving. The final part of the film shows Winslet, in her old age, childishly excited as she is contacted once again by the now older teenage boy.

David Cross and Ralph Fiennes provide excellent support and this film leaves you with a small but very real sense of what things were like during the war. There are a million war films out there but few are this thought provoking.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. R. Cantle on 16 Jan. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Kate Winslet's performance is remarkable in this film. If you are more accustomed to seeing her in such sugary nonsense as 'The Holiday', desparately trying to convince us she could fall for Jack Black, (she fails in that btw) here she shows that she's more than capable of taking on one of the most challenging roles imaginable for an actress. She succeeds completely, brilliantly convincing as a solitary 35 year-old tram conductress who has an affair with a young lad. The power of her performance grows as, ageing gradually for the remainder of the film - a huge challenge for a bubbly, beautiful woman like her, she continues her solitary meaningless existence as a 'victim' herself.

Bruno Ganz was also a standout for me as the young lad's legal professor at Law School. I also noticed Ganz' co-star from the spell-binding 'Downfall', Alexandra Maria Lara (Traudl Junge) pop up in one of the courtroom scenes as a young Jewish woman. These two and the rest of what was largely a German cast were excellent.

A thoroughly deserved Oscar then for the leading lady, and I for one look forward to many more to come for her
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