I went into this movie with low expectations already. So when I say that it was bad, I really rather mean it. Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet) is a mysterious woman who ends up having an affair with a teenager named Michael Berg (David Kross) during one summer. She has him read to her constantly when they’re not having sex. A few years later, Michael is in law school and goes to witness a court case for his seminar. The court case, however, is to convict a group of ex-Nazi guards at
The movie nearly made me fall asleep. I was yawning half the time, checking my watch the other half. I felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters. That’s not to say the acting was bad (except for the beginning, which was just stiff… no innuendo intended). Winslet actually did a bang-up job in her role. But I actually liked the professor of the law school seminar better. At least he was intriguing.
Otherwise, the whole thing was a mess. The whole movie was like one long string of montages. The first hour of the movie itself was nothing but just big one sex montage. Hopefully they give the Oscar to Kate Winslet’s breasts instead, because they had more screen time than any other part of her. And while normally I might not mind this… it just got to be too much. The first half of the movie was like high-budget, high-quality, softcore Cinemax porn. It didn’t give any time for character development (or even time to get to know the characters to begin with), which led to me not caring whatsoever about the characters. At the start of the relationship, right before their first sexual encounter, I started wondering if somebody based the script on some cheap erotica fiction from the internet… it was that random and coincidental. “Oh… you’re a dirty, dirty boy. Take off your clothes, and I’ll draw you a bath.” “Kay.” *bow chicka bow wow*
There was no focus on any scene for more than a minute. There was even one moment where they show him go home for about 20 seconds, and his family is all disgruntled with him, alluding to him having run away from home or something. But there was no way of knowing that before this point because the last 45 minutes had been a giant reading/sex montage.
The second half of the movie wasn’t much better about the massive montage sequences. That only died down a couple times toward the end, but that’s about it. I can seriously only remember maybe one major scene in the entire movie that lasted more than 2 minutes and stood on its own.
And of course there's the whole bit where the movie attempts to make us feel sorry for a character that we don't even like... and backfires quite a bit. The movie attempts to say that because she's naive, she's more innocent. I actually think that because she was so blase about the whole thing... that just makes her even worse. Which doesn't help when it comes back to the film trying to make the audience side with her... which just doesn't work.
I’m not sure what else to say about this film. I knew it had gotten a lot of so-so reviews, but I didn’t expect to dislike it as much as I did. All that said, there were a couple things I did like, the main of which I can’t say for spoiler reasons. And I suppose I can understand why it was Oscar-nominated. Although the holocaust topic probably helps, we all know the formula is Time Period Piece + Kate Winslet’s Boobs = Oscar Nomination. After all, it worked for Titanic.
The Zed Word
(P.S. The most entertaining parts to me was the old man behind me saying random stuff like "Where was she when I was 15?" and "I'd like Kate Winslet to give me a bath.").