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The Reader

7.62 h 3 min2009X-Ray15
Kate Winslet delivers a dynamic performance in this tale of eroticism, secrecy and guilt set in post-Nazi Germany. Winslet is riveting as Hanna Schmitz – a lonely, working-class woman who experiences a brief but intense affair with a teenage boy. Years later they meet again: Hanna now a defendant in a notorious case and her ex lover, now a law student, holding the secret to her salvation.
Stephen Daldry
Kate WinsletRalph FiennesDavid Kross
None Available
Audio Languages
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.

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Supporting actors
Lena OlinBruno Ganz
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Stream instantly Details
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.5 out of 5 stars

1850 global ratings

  1. 72% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

WildMareReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 October 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Good period atmosphere but shallow
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I saw this when it came out and also read Frederic Raphael’s scorching critique of it. It is flawed and dishonest but compelling. The reader in question is a teenage Berlin boy who in 1959 is seduced by an older woman who likes him to read to her. He becomes a lawyer and through his studies discovers that his first love was a guard in the SS and is on trial for war crimes. It turns out she is illiterate, and could boost her defence by admitting this, but prefers a huge jail sentence to the shame of such an admission. The dishonesty lies in the fact that no one illiterate could have been in the SS, and in the creepy way that her illiteracy and attendant shame are almost offered as an equivalent to the sufferings she caused. The acting is excellent (Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes) and the period recreation admirable.
3 people found this helpful
Retford67Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 June 2022
1.0 out of 5 stars
Bad, boring and wrong
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This is one of those films that people say they like because they think it makes them seem clever. It's all whispers and looks, with a bit of nudity thrown in. You know the sort. But the basic premise of this film is abhorrent. A woman joins the SS simply because she is illiterate. Except no she didn't. She would never have got into the SS if she couldn't read and write. Now she is condemned because she's too embarrassed to admit she can't write. So it's better to admit to killing 300 people than saying you can't read and write? She seduces an underage boy - that is utterly wrong btw, but it's okay because it's in an artsy film and it's Kate doing it. He spends the rest of his life moping about and pining for his Nazi despoiler who seems to have no morals whatsoever. There is nothing to learn from this film. I'm with the Jewish woman at the end who basically says she can't do anything with any of this. It's an exploitative, immoral, wrong-headed story and most people will find it dull and stupid.
2 people found this helpful
ChristinaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 June 2022
1.0 out of 5 stars
Glorifying sex abuse of a teenage boy as 'romance'
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I was disturbed from the beginning and couldn't get passed the fact that a 15 year old was seduced by a 35 year old .. if this was a 35 year old man seducing a 15 year old girl it would most definitely cause more uproar as it rightly should. The graphic sex scenes make it much more disturbing since the woman is a predator, yet this is completely ignored the duration of the film and by critics and reviewers! Sex abuse glorified as a romantic affair - disgusting and horrifying!!
4 people found this helpful
marcoReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 December 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
A beautifully crafted film with a superb performace by K Winslett
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The performance by all actors is superb. Bruno Ganz( The law professor) is outstanding and Kate Winslett gives the performance of her life whilst Ralph Fiennes/David Cross interpret the dilemmas of Michael Berg ( the young lover who becomes a lawyer) in acrediblw way. There are many facets to this movie: coming of age, love between people of different age, the holocaust, the reason why people did what they did, the power of education, human relations, guilt, injustice, post war Germany, and so on. It makes you reflect in general about human behaviour and how we all react to different circumstances in different ways. The question that Hanna, the defendant, asks the judge is " what would you have done in similar circumstances?" . it is too easy to answer : "I would have behaved differently". The visual descriptions of towns and apartments in post war towns is extremely interesting. Some viewers may consider the story of a justification of the Nazi atrocities, creating sympathy for Hanna, a Kapo in a concentration camp . In my opinion, it is not a justification, but rather a view of one of the many reasons why people did what they did, following the rules It made me think and it raises the question about whether the Germans did deal with their Nazi pat in the right way. The best film I have seen for a very long time.
2 people found this helpful
KatjaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 03 November 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of my fav. movies
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I always watch this movie with my friends from abroad. History well explained and outstanding performance of Kate Winslet.
from Wikipedia quote: 'To educate herself on the stigma of illiteracy, she spent time with students at the Literacy Partners, an organization that teaches adults to read and write.'

We love you KATE, you are an awesome actress. the krauts from LONDON xoxo
6 people found this helpful
F A.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 July 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Watchable but leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth
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I guess this film is about people who are not looked at in films about the war: The large number of people who worked for the Nazi regime but not in the army, intelligence or politics, just ordinary people but participating in the bad things.
Perhaps it is trying to say that some of them were too ignorant, uneducated and conditioned to realise what they were doing.
The character Peter is not a saint, either. In the end he was awful to her. Was he retaliating for leaving him or to punish her for what she did?
Still, worth watching, it tells you something about human nature and Kate Winslet is very good in it.
S M-TReviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 September 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Challenging Film
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A film which leaves a very deep impression and one well worth seeing if only for the brilliance of Kate Winslet as the nervy, somewhat robotic character and her involvement with a 15-year old boy who is affected for the rest of his life because of that brief period in his life. Some aspects are quite disturbing in that you have to question how you would deal with the situation she was involved in during the time of the Nazi atrocities. Later, you might be putting yourself in his shoes and questioning his decision and how you would react in the same circumstances and with the same situation confronting you. A challenging film for reasons you will only understand when you see it.
7 people found this helpful
Karl CookReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 June 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thought provoking and honest
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I think it is difficult to tackle a subject like the holocaust without falling into the trap of a sort of moral absolutism and I think this is one of those rare films that avoids that. I think the reader is a story about facing your past nuanced to include personal and societal narratives that works on both levels. I would recommend watching this film without hesitation.
One person found this helpful
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