Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Reader

I watched the movie yesterday. What a perfect story. What I liked perhaps was that there was no sugary forgiveness. The movie just portrayed humanity.

Since words like "human" and "humanitarian" have such positive connotations, we forget that humanity is also basically flawed. That sometimes we agree because it's easier than disagreeing. That sometimes we don't see the humanity of others because the instinct for self-preservation kicks in. This, too, is totally human.

Kate Winslet packed it all in her performance. The mature and sure older woman in the relationship, now vulnerable, now harsh. The uncomprehending defendant, following her orders. The defeated old prisoner, who, in a spurt of excitement, blue eyes flashing through the wrinkles, learns something that has evaded her all her life.

David Kross who emoted beautifully - the besotted underage lover, the confused yet involved spectator at the trial, torn by the unique dilemma of protecting a woman he once loved, but unsure whether to protect her from shame or imprisonment. And then, as a successful but haunted adult, Ralph Fiennes takes over seamlessly, unable to forgive her crime yet unable to forget his love. And so he reaches out only halfway, hesitantly, helping the stranger he had once loved in the only way he can. So simple, and so beautiful.

Every actor was so right. The knowing Professor of Law, who says, "It doesn't matter what you think! It only matters what you do!" The unspoken words hang in the air - "...and what you don't do." The Auschwitz survivor, cool, composed and very rich - yet forcefully convincing that "Nothing comes out of the camps. Nothing." As if the nothing itself were cancerous, destroying a bit of humanity.

The movie takes no sides. It didn't really make me cry, because it was a piece of life: never perfect. Instead it left me aching a little for the sort of humans we all are, sometimes by choice and sometimes for lack of it.


dipali said...

it was a great movie! Your beautiful review brought it all back to me.

baba said...

You should review films.I thought I was reading veteran Amita Malik . Write on Avatar.
Well, this one is very well described though I havent seen the movie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anamika,

I got to know of your blog through Mad Momma.

I saw the movie yesterday. it was a very fine movie. And you have expressed it well. I thought Kate Winslet was terrific in this movie, so was the kid...

And a very valid point you made about the choices, and our flawed human nature.

Best wishes,

Sue said...

I know what you mean. It doesn't make you cry but it leaves a damn deep impression.

Thinking Cramps said...

Dipali: Thanks. How's your mother now?

Baba: I think you should watch this movie. I have not yet seen Avatar, but okay, I will review it when I do!

Anjali: Any friend of Mad Momma's is a friend of mine! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you read the post when the movie was still so fresh in your mind.

Sue: Exactly!

eve's lungs said...

That reminds me to put the movie on and watch it

A Muser said...

Now I want to see it.