Riding on ‘The Reader’

Some films make you happy, some sad, some irritated, and only a few give you a sense of bliss. Those few touch your soul in a way you keep thinking of them, mesmerized with wonder and happiness. ‘The Reader’ was one such film for me.

I had heard it’s a good film long back and was curious. Had heard Kate Winslet had won the Oscars and BAFTA as the Best Actress, for this film. So when I saw it on Netflix, thought of giving it a try. And so begun my association with a film that I consider nothing short of sheer beauty.

I will certainly not review this masterpiece of a film that was released a decade back and received multiple appreciation. I would rather express the tumult of emotions it generated in me, how it made me happy, how it evoked my tears and how it made me fall in love with love all over again.

A story that talks about the love story of a rather mismatched couple, goes to a whole new level altogether when it shows how love can change lives over a lifetime. Young Michael’s brief affair with a much older Hanna, who was more than 20 years elder to him, doesn’t let go of his psyche and helps to break him, and build him all over again throughout his life.

The film shows how the couple hardly meet after the affair ends throughout their lives, yet their bond remains the strongest thing ever, mostly for Michael who never ceased to get over the grip that Hanna had had over him.

Young Michael’s affair with Hanna lasts only for a summer where along with their physical intimacy, there are reading sessions. Hanna makes Michael read out to him extensively. The affair ends when she deserts him without any notice. He sees her after a decade during a post WWII trail, where Hanna gets convicted and jailed for life. Michael’s heart years strives to meet Hanna but he resists. He sends her audio tapes, where he reads out works from literature. The joy that Hanna receives in the days in prison for 20 years, are mostly from hearing those audio tapes. But they never meet, except one last time after which Hanna leaves Michael one more time, leaving just a Hello for him.

The love expressed in the film is so self sustaining that at times it creates an ache in the heart. There is sadness, but one which gives a sense of hope. A hope that love exists and though cliche it sounds, how it surpasses all odds.

Certainly a must watch!

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