'The Reader' Critic Reviews

89%
MovieWeb:   3 reviews
61%
Rotten Tomatoes:   198 reviews
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    59
    Everything is admirable, worthy, and muffled in a blanket of Britishness in this well-bred production, which reunites director Stephen Daldry with screenwriter David Hare six years after The Hours.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    50
    The Reader is a scrupulously tasteful film about an erotic affair that turns to love.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    20
    Under the gloss of high production value, under the sheen of hardback good taste, there is something naive and glib and meretricious. It left a very strange taste in my mouth.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    75
    A slow-moving but absorbing story of sexual awakening and moral dilemmas.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Ann Hornaday Washington Post (Top Critic)
    As undeniably tasteful as The Reader is, it's also an absorbing and finally moving account of how one man comes to terms with both history and his story.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Wesley Morris Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    50
    After a sensuous introductory act, The Reader descends into a series of dismaying contradictions regarding the moral toxins of the Holocaust -- which still pollute postwar Germany.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    60
    Provocatively intentioned, The Reader is a movie worth seeing -- the kind of film you'll think about for days afterward. But when all is said and done, you're likely to wonder why the impact wasn't greater still.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    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.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Michael Granberry Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    92
    The Reader is a bold and provocative film and one of the most exquisite of 2008.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    88
    The trial's outcome leads us into a third act that continues to give renewed, rending meaning to the movie's title.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • David Edelstein New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    It appears that the filmmakers have taken Hannah Arendt's notion of the 'banality of evil' way too literally.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Anthony Lane New Yorker (Top Critic)
    The whole film, in fact, with its loping pace and plaintive score, feels like a woefully polite, not to say British, take on a foreign horror; was there really no one, from the fierce new wave of German filmmakers, prepared to dramatize the Schlink?
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    88
    I believe the movie may be demonstrating a fact of human nature: Most people, most of the time, all over the world, choose to go along. We vote with the tribe.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    50
    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 » 6 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    75
    Surrounding the Holocaust morality play is another story that's more modestly scaled and, in this age of unashamed romance between older women and younger men, more contemporary.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    With this film Daldry proves himself the screen's reigning master at showing passion thwarted or repressed, this time to a propulsive Philip Glass-lite score from Nico Muhly.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Kristin Tillotson Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    75
    If Winslet carries the complex psychological intrigue of the film on her shoulders, David Kross carries the heart of it on his.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    50
    At times The Reader is an interesting exploration of both the needs of man and the limits of law. But there are so many dead spots in the film after it gets rolling that the rolling too often comes to a stop.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    70
    Winslet is outstanding, particularly given that Hanna is such an unsympathetic character. We never quite feel sympathy toward her, and it's testament to Winslet's skill and confidence that she never really asks us to.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Andrew Sarris New York Observer (Top Critic)
    Despite the efforts of [all involved], the Holocaust remains the elephant in the room that deadens the elements of surprise and suspense we have been conditioned to expect in screen narratives.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Todd McCarthy Variety (Top Critic)
    Stephen Daldry's film is sensitively realized and dramatically absorbing, but comes across as an essentially cerebral experience without gut impact.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Kyle Smith New York Post (Top Critic)
    63
    'Go to the theater if you want catharsis,' says one character. I was sitting in a theater and I wanted it. It wasn't there.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    80
    The Reader, distant though it can be, touches and provokes a mulling over of the Holocaust like few films on the subject in recent memory.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Peter Howell Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    63
    Like a good book with missing pages, The Reader seems stripped of essential meaning.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
AVG. RATING 4.0 GREAT
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43 people have rated The Reader
  • 12
    28%
  • 20
    47%
  • 3 Star:
    6
    14%
  • 2 Star:
    3
    7%
  • 1 Star:
    1
    3%
  • 0 Star:
    1
    3%
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