In my quest to determine who stole The Dark Knight’s rightful Oscar nomination for Best Picture, this week I’m determined to see all 5 films nominated for that illustrious award and see if they pass muster. You can read my take on Slumdog Millionaire here.
Up next on my list was theoretically supposed to be Milk, but that plan was a bust when the Queen and I arrived at the theatre late. We’d missed the first few moments of the film and there was no way I was going to not see it from the beginning. Instead, we made our way into a theatre showing The Reader.
This, my friends, I was not looking forward too. I was not in the mood for a Holocaust drama. I never am. Now, I know Kate Winslet is getting raves for her performance, but this was going to be one of those movies I was going to see simply because I had to, not because I wanted to. Plus, I wondered whether a period drama was going to hold my attention seeing as I hadn’t napped after my day at the office. So there I sat, with zero expectations. And within minutes, I was enthralled.
What an amazing film The Reader is. The story, the tale of the relationship between a young man and an older woman who winds up having a past as a guard at Aushwitz, is tragic and moving. Winslet is as brilliant as they say, and her performance just may guarantee her that Oscar. She’s hard and vulnerable, sometimes at the same time. Equal to her accomplishment is her 18-year old unknown co-star, David Kross, who deserves more accolades than he seems to be receiving. The same goes for Ralph Fiennes, who appears onscreen for less than half the film but is incredibly moving every moment he’s on screen. I hadn’t seen any of director Stephen Daldry’s previous efforts, but you may have. He’s got The Hours and Billy Elliot to his credit. He did a great job getting stellar performances from his cast.
Now this is a film that truly feels Oscar worthy to me. Within minutes it transformed my anticipated ennui into genuine thrall. I was riveted by The Reader, and in my mind it deserves its Best Picture nomination.
If only The Dark Knight was standing beside it in the running.