Monday, March 9, 2009

The Reader

"I nailed Kate Winslet. And I still wear Underoos."

Hurrah for babysitters! Friends Marcie and Beth kindly offered to watch the wee one so Motley Husband and I could sneak off for a matinee on Saturday, which for anyone with a toddler, is something akin to being given the keys to your own private island. I know, a matinee might sound boring to you, but trust me, two hours of relative relaxation that don't involve a short person whining at you to read the 37th installment of Dora the Explorer is pure bliss.

So, we showed up to our local megaplex on the hopes of just finding something playing around the time we arrived that didn't involve the words Paul, Blart, Mall or Cop.

Check. The Reader with Kate Winslet was starting in five minutes.

We grabbed a giant vat of popcorn and loaded it with butter (more on that later...) and settled in for what I can only describe as the creepiest love story I've ever seen.

The Reader
is set in post-war Germany and is told through the perspective of a fifteen year-old-boy who befriends a much older woman, Hanna Schmitz (played by Winslet), on a chance encounter in the street. The two eventually become lovers and "the Kid" reads to Schmitz at each of their liaisons. It's like a pedophile's version of Oprah's book club, if you will.

Anyway, the actor cast to play the boy looks VERY, VERY young. Winslet looks VERY, VERY experienced by contrast and the many lingering love scenes between the two were squeamish and unsettling to say the least. I'm sure for some tastes, this sort of thing is titillating but I found myself feeling much the same way I did as a teenager stuck watching "dirty parts" of a movie in front of my parents. It creeped me out. When the two finally parted I heard Motley Husband mutter, "Thank god."

The rest of the movie was happily filled with Nazis. Yes, that's right, I found Nazis a welcome change to Kate Winslet licking the navel of a pubescent boy. Sue me.

The Nazis...see, years later when our young friend is in law school, his class attends and studies the trial of a former Nazi war criminal, who turns out to be none other than his former lover, Hanna Schmitz. Here the movie takes a very beautiful and agonized turn as the boy tries to rectify his feelings for Schmitz with the brutality of her crimes.

You'll be able to guess Schmitz's fate and the Nazi themes are all very familiar to us, but you will be moved by the performance of one of Schmitz's former victims, played with chilling iciness by Lena Olin. There was nothing in the movie that came as a great surprise--even the big 'reveal' should be no surprise to anyone with working eyeballs--but it was all well done and much of it was very moving.

Oh, and about the popcorn. So after shoveling down the better part of two pounds of popcorn, followed by a giant coffee and a beer, Motley Husband got throwing-up sick and he couldn't eat anything for almost a day and so claims now that he got some kind of bug. We have been going round and round on this one because he is sticking to this "bug" story, but we both know that BUTTERED POPCORN IS NOT A BUG.

The defense rests.

1 comment:

Grant said...

How can delicious butter-ish flavored popcorn do that to anyone? If loving it's so wrong, I don't want to be right.....but I also don't want what I had, whatever it may be, again any time soon. Those Motley Intestinal Issues were not fun.

Motley Husband