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The reader - Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Alexandra Maria Lara, Stephen Daldry

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

The reader opens in post-WWII Germany when teenager Michael Berg (David Kross) becomes ill and is helped home by Hanna (Kate Winslet), a stranger twice his age. Michael recovers from scarlet fever and seeks out Hanna to thank her. The two are quickly drawn into a passionate but secretive affair.

Michael discovers that Hanna loves being read to and their physical relationship deepens. Hanna is enthralled as Michael reads to her from The odyssey, Huck Finn and The lady with the little dog. Despite their intense bond, Hanna mysteriously disappears one day and Michael is left confused and heartbroken.

Eight years later, while Michael is a law student observing the Nazi war crime trials, he is stunned to find Hanna back in his life - this time as a defendant in the courtroom. As Hanna's past is revealed, Michael uncovers a deep secret that will impact both of their lives. The reader is a haunting story about truth and reconciliation, about how one generation comes to terms with the crimes of another.

Theatrical propaganda posters

The reader theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film drama legal war Germany literature romance Nazi trials war crime secret relationship sex love

Persons of interest

  • Kate Winslet .... Hanna Schmitz
  • Ralph Fiennes .... Older Michael
  • Alexandra Maria Lara .... Ilana
  • Bruno Ganz .... Rohl
  • David Kross .... Michael
  • Karoline Herfurth .... Marthe
  • Volker Bruch .... Dieter Spenz
  • Linda Bassett .... Mrs Brenner
  • Hannah Herzsprung .... Julia
  • Susanne Lothar .... Carla Berg
  • Matthias Habich .... Peter Berg
  • Jürgen Tarrach .... Gerhard Bade
  • Jeanette Hain .... Brigitte
  • Kirsten Block .... Judge
  • Claudia Michelsen .... Gertrude
  • Max Mauff .... Rudolf
  • Vijessna Ferkic .... Sophie
  • Moritz Grove .... Holger
  • Bernhard Schlink .... Author
  • David Hare .... Screenwriter
  • Stephen Daldry .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The only good thing to come out of the Second World War was the Diaspora of European Jews so that there are now more Jews in the world than there would've been if the Nazis had not committed the Final Solution. Everything else that happened is nasty. The reader is nasty. Like any good story it starts out with love, sex and romance and ends up with tragic, creepy evil.

Ralph Fiennes is delightfully pathetic as the old Michael (even when he's happy he looks like a basset hound). David Kross is perfectly cast as the young Michael: he's bright, energetic, stuffed full of strudel. And well hung. Did I mention that he's well hung? Very nice, if you like that sort of thing. Kate Winslet is very Deutch: you can almost see the stick up her arse. She also has pubic and armpit hair, just like in the real world. I haven't seen female armpit hair since An old mistress (Une vielle maîtresse) and that woman was foreign. Kate's old age make-up is as phenomenal as her performance as the tragic woman who was once a stupid, stupid girl.

The reader is the kind of drama that makes you glad your country never tried to take over the world.

The drama, legal, war movie The reader is directed by Stephen Daldry and stars Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Alexandra Maria Lara.

Government security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Sex scenes and nudity)

Surveillance time

124 minutes (2:04 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 19 February 2009
DVD retail: 18 June 2009

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