The Reader Reviews

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Josh Bell
Las Vegas Weekly
December 31, 2008
A tedious piece of awards bait that drains the color from both illicit sex and historical tragedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Adam Tobias
Watertown Daily Times
January 30, 2009
...for the life of me I cannot figure out how the Academy Award voters could consider this film as year's most elite. Heck, I can't even understand how The Reader received five Oscar nominations.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Gina Carbone
Seacoast Newspapers (NH/Maine)
January 11, 2009
How do you solve a problem like The Reader? It's deep and layered and sexy and Oscary and left no emotional impression. It happened and I left.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.75/4
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
January 2, 2009
It's only when The Reader begins to dig at these big questions that the movie begins to feel slight and inadequate. As a soft-core love story, a seedy and silly male fantasy piece, it sort of works.
Full Review | Original Score: 83/100
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
December 11, 2008
The Reader is low-budget, high-profile and beamed straight at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Category of High Moral Tone.
December 9, 2008
Watching Daldry try to tuck the horrors of Nazi Germany into neat little hospital corners made for a singularly unsatisfying (however tidy) experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 24, 2008
Told, coolly...the novel was hugely popular as well as controversial worldwide and an Oprah's Book Club selection besides. I'm afraid it needed a different set of interpreters to make any emotional sense of it onscreen.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 12, 2008
The Reader remains schematic, and ultimately reductive. It really is about literacy, which proves to be a dismayingly small answer to the enormous questions posed by Hanna's dark past.
Fernando F. Croce
CinePassion
August 26, 2009
Dismal
Jolene Mendez
Entertainment Spectrum
January 5, 2009
"The Reader" definitely could have more to offer the listener.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Tony Macklin
Fayetteville Free Weekly
February 1, 2009
The Reader is the most undeserving of the five Academy Award nominees for Best Picture. A nice quality for a movie to have is if it has one or more characters to whom one can relate. In The Reader the two main characters are clods.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
December 24, 2008
Best evidence of what a magnetic presence Kate Winslet is: When her role diminishes in the second half of The Reader, the movie disintegrates.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Karina Longworth
SpoutBlog
December 12, 2008
This is a film which asks us to contemplate the deeply complicated relationship between rational thought and instinctual feeling via a perverse intermingling of global horror and very, very local pain.
Chris Barsanti
PopMatters
December 12, 2008
Without [Kate] Winslet, The Reader would be just another literary adaptation that got high on its own self-importance.
Katey Rich
CinemaBlend.com
December 1, 2008
Were there any real passion or feeling behind it, The Reader might feel like more than just a space-filler on the inexorable march to Oscar night.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Nick Schager
Slant Magazine
December 7, 2008
Director Stephen Daldry and screenwriter David Hare exhibit a continued inability to thrillingly translate literary forms to the screen.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Kam Williams
NewsBlaze
February 1, 2009
Springtime for Hitler, the sequel!
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Eric D. Snider
EricDSnider.com
December 21, 2008
Whatever legitimacy the story once had must have been lost in translation, because what appears on the screen is a cold, artless lump.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Philippa Hawker
The Age (Australia)
February 20, 2009
The film...hankers after something redemptive. But whatever difficult possibilities about guilt and silence it explores are dissolved into disconcerting blandness.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Julie Rigg
MovieTime, ABC Radio National
February 20, 2009
The Reader does not succeed as a coherent film, despite some fine work by actors and the filmmakers' best intentions.

Sight and Sound
June 18, 2012
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