Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Oscar Pledge: Part 1

Remember in one of my last posts I mentioned that I was going to read this year's Oscar nominated films (largely because I wasn't going to be able to see them)? Well, the pledge has begun. I decided to tackle The Reader, the film for which Kate Winslet won best actress.

First off, everyone went on about how this was a Holocaust movie/book. I typically stay way clear of this subject matter. Call me weak but since reading Sophie's Choice when I was a teenager, I can't handle the Holocaust theme. It just gives me so much emotional pain and it seems so inconceivable that human beings could exercise that level of atrocity towards other human beings.

In all honesty, I was attracted to The Reader not only because it received raves as a novel but I am a huge Kate Winslet fan and this seemed so far removed from other characters she has played in the past.

In The Reader, The Holocaust is like a secondary character - it lingers in the background and then makes its appearance in the second half of the story but it is by no means dominant. There are so many other things going on. Funnily enough, I found myself rather unsympathetic towards either Michael or Hanna, the main characters, but still found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Reader is many things: a story of a passion between an older woman and young man; a coming of age story; a courtroom drama. However to categorize it only as a Holocaust book, doesn't do it justice.

The Reader
Bernhard Schlink
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group