The Independent Film Forum: 2. The Reader

Our new film forum is your chance to pass judgement on a recent release. Here’s a selection of your views on Kate Winslet’s Oscar-nominated latest
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Cmartini25: Fantastic and moving. It made me change my opinion of Kate Winslet. The storyline grabbed me. The best Holocaust movie? No, ‘Schindler’s List’ gets that prize. But it’s a fantastic story, very well filmed.

Claudiaherwig:The alternating scenes of passion and Hanna’s sudden withdrawals rope you into this brilliant book. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t do it justice. It’s certainly not a bad film; Winslet’s performance is steady and believable and David Kross’s Michael comes quite close to his character in the book. It just felt incomplete.

Cellubefront: Should morality overcome the laws of an era when the imposed order is immoral? Yes, of course! That’s what the Nuremberg trials taught us, didn’t they? The diegetic formulation (a story about Germany told in English) subliminally calls for a trans-national reading whose moral implications are far greater and more painful than the viewer would like them to be.

Sebastian Hayes: The adaptation of the novel fudges the moral issues and turns it into a soap. Hanna’s illiteracy is a total non sequitur, there to get the spectator off the hook. The film should never be applauded – except for Winslet’s performance.

Johndhall:Undeniably moving, but it still comes across as the Holocaust played like ‘Summer of ’42’. Some questions are raised about the line between blind obedience and complicit evil, but it is, in the end, a weepie.

Bill: It has that air of thinking it’s a very good film, an ‘important’ film. But it’s not, it’s pretty ordinary. Ideas about German individuals’ responsibility for what happened during the war weren’t really explored. And the crucial hook about Hanna being too proud to admit she couldn’t read took over, and I just didn’t buy it. The acting is good but not great. And the directing felt safe and ordinary.