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The Reader | 2008 | R | - 9.4.2

Kate Winslet stars as a woman in post World War II Germany, who finds a sick young man (David Kross) in the entrance to her apartment, takes him in and they begin a passionate relationship. One day she disappears and eight years later he sees her again, but this time she is a defendant in a war crimes trial. Also with Ralph Fiennes, Karoline Herfurth, Hannah Herzsprung, Lena Olin, Bruno Ganz, Jeanette Hain, Susanne Lothar and Matthias Habich. Directed by Stephen Daldry. [2:02]

SEX/NUDITY 9 - A nude woman (her bare buttocks, back, legs and side of her breast are seen) holds a nude teen boy (his bare buttocks, leg and side are shown) from the back, she reaches around and it is implied that he has an erection; they kiss and have sex (we see the teen boy thrusting on top of the woman, they moan, and her bare breasts and his bare chest are visible).
 A teen boy and a woman remove their clothing (her bare breasts, shoulders and abdomen, and his chest, legs and back are seen), and they have sex on a bed; her leg is raised to his shoulder, he thrusts and she moans.
 A teen boy and a woman have sex: they kiss and we see thrusting and hear moaning. A teen boy and a woman lie in bed nude and kiss, they have sex, and we see him thrusting and we hear moaning.
 A young man and a young woman have sex (we see his bare back while he thrusts and we see her bare breasts and she moans). From a distance we see a young man and a young woman in bed having sex (we see the man's bare back and buttocks and the woman's bare thighs and shoulders), and we see the man thrusting.
 A nude woman and teen boy (her bare breasts and buttocks are seen and his bare chest and buttocks are seen) lie in bed and talk. A teen boy stands fully nude (his bare buttocks, back, legs, chest and genitals are visible) in a bathtub while a woman washes him (there is no sexual activity). A woman undresses (her bare buttocks and breasts are seen) while she and a teen boy argue; she tells him to leave, and she gets into a bathtub and we see her breasts through the water. A teen boy removes his clothes for a bath, and a woman takes them (we see his bare chest, bare buttocks, pubic hair, and genitals when he bends over). A nude woman (her bare buttocks, the side of her bare breast, bare legs and back are visible) walks through a room in a man's apartment after apparently having spent the night with him (it is implied that they have had sex). A teen boy and a woman lie in bed nude after having sex (we see her bare buttocks, back and legs and his bare buttocks, back and chest) and the boy kisses the woman's bare hip.
 A teen boy lies on a bed, a woman unbuttons his shirt and kisses down his chest, and they kiss. A teen boy kisses a woman hard on the lips, and she pushes him away and slaps him in the face. A teen boy and a woman sit in a bathtub together (we see bare shoulders and his bare chest) in a couple of scenes.
 A teen boy stands in a hallway while a woman dresses in her apartment, and the boy peeks through a slightly opened door (the woman is wearing a slip while putting on her stockings, and cleavage, bare shoulders, bare thighs and pubic hair are visible). A teen boy is shown nude in bed alone (his bare buttocks, chest, legs and genitals are visible). A teen boy swims nude (his bare buttocks are seen). We see a woman's bare back and the side of her bare breast while she washes herself. A woman swims wearing a sheer bra and when it is wet her nipples are visible.
 Teen boys and teen girls wear swimsuits while swimming. A teen boy enters a woman's apartment, and she is pressing her undergarments.
 Teen boys watch teen girls as they walk by and they whistle. A woman hugs a teen boy to calm him (he is sick and he cries).


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A woman piles books on a table and then climbs on top of them and we understand that she hangs herself. A teen boy kisses a woman hard on the lips, and she pushes him away and slaps him in the face.
 We hear testimony about many people being burned to death when they are trapped inside a church and that others would not unlock the doors even though they heard screaming from inside. We hear testimony in a courtroom about how certain people were selected to be removed from a work camp to a death camp because "We had to make room for the new ones." We hear testimony from people who participated in "death marches." We hear court testimony in a courtroom from people who were guards at Nazi concentration camps and death camps.
 We see demonstrators outside a courthouse and they protest loudly (there is no violence shown and police are present).
 A young man says that he would shoot a woman who was on trial for her participation as an Nazi S.S. guard. We hear that a teen boy has scarlet fever (he is in bed, looks pale and his cheeks are reddened). A father talks to his adult daughter about his being remote and distant.
 A young man walks through an abandoned death camp and finds huge bins of shoes and ovens used to incinerate bodies.
 A teen boy looks very pale and ill, he vomits on a sidewalk (we see goo), he sits down, then vomits again (we see more goo), a woman steps in it, and then cleans it up by dumping a bucket of water.


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LANGUAGE 2 - 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (Nazi whore).


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SUBSTANCE USE - People are shown drinking alcohol and smoking at a party. A young woman drinks a mixed drink at a bar, a man and his adult daughter drink wine with a meal, and a man drinks wine. A young man smokes a cigarette in several scenes.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Nazi concentration camps, Nazi death camps, illiteracy, sexual relationships between older women and teenage boys, divorce, death of a parent, loneliness, family, secrecy, Auschwitz, justice, chaos, order, suicide, moral obligations.

MESSAGE - What we feel is not as important as what we do. The actions of those participating in the Nazi S.S. are inexcusable.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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