Tuesday 24 February 2015

The Reader

Plot Synopses are misleading and as of now, I am at a war with them. The Reader is the story of "an older woman younger man relationship set in post World War II Germany", or so I was told. But it gets better, far, far better.

The most magical thing about this movie is that nothing is magical about it. The characters within it are essentially the general breed of humans you find in everyday life. There is Hanna, portrayed with a breathtakingly beautiful finesse by Kate Winslet who has a secret she would rather die than to reveal to anyone. There is Michael, (Cross and Fiennes)  who falls for her but not necessarily in love with her. In the truly romantic part of their companionship, there is hardly any love; vulnerability yes but no love. "You don't matter enough to upset me", she tells him and for a large part of the truth, he doesn't. Why this relationship then? Because Michael is a teen and has dreams of a future ahead of him and because Hanna is a woman of 36 and has a past she does not want to dream of.

Stories like that don't last in reality and neither does this. But its echo does. Michael and Hanna put each other through inconsiderate pain, something that is as human as it gets. But they can not let go somehow and care for each other, again as human as it goes.

The movie is filled with some powerful scenes. The relationship of the two protagonists comprises of two things: the usual of course and the other most unusual. Hanna makes Michael read to her before they make love and the scenes comprise some of the most sensuous film-making you will ever find. And then there are numerous others but two in particular- Micheal meeting Hanna face-to-face after decades and the other where he meets a Jewish prison survivor. As the shot progresses in both, you know something utterly defining is about to come up. But it doesn't. You feel they will say some lines that will bring those moments of justification to all actions. But you don't get them. Those scenes are some of the most realistic portrayals of life-like situations you will ever see. The characters don't behave like heroes or heroines, they are the common person on the street, You, Me, Us. Maybe they want to say something intelligent, but they just cannot or choose not to.
        And this is why, 'The Reader' will always remain a story that is not fiction but pretty much all truth.

Bandwidth Verdict : Watch it now, and if you got space, keep a copy to revisit whenever you feel like having a solid dose of reality.

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