A noted favourite, The Reader has always been an unforgettable book for me and I have done with The Reader what I rarely do with any book- I’ve read it more than twice. Any avid reader knows of the skepticism one feels before viewing a film based on a beloved book because they know more often than not, the book will always be superior and the film itself, a poor representation of great work.
At first I was very reluctant to see the film version because as a film buff and addicted reader, over the years I’ve learned that most books that have been made into movies often lacked the general authenticity and integrity of the books message, tone and essence. It is probably safe to say that most books-made-into-film movies are not worth the time. You have to either read the book and must never see the film or vise versa. For example, Kite Runner, a book about redemption fulfilled its promise of a fantastic read in paper form but seemed to lack depth and sentiments on film. I could not cry and I am the true epitome of a crier and most importantly, it’s a crier on paper! The poetic and meaningful passages; the memorable and much-loved characters in the book sadly did not resonate on screen and regretfully, I should not have seen it.
Some more films you should either read or see but not both:
*The Other Boleyn Girl (you can read or see it- either is good but don’t do both I’ve been told)
*Little Children (while you, the reader, chased the pages of this book in suspense of what was going to happen next, the film flopped like a fat kid sitting on an already deflating floating device– end already!)
*P.S. I Love You (if you wish to disintegrate into a pile of useless shite, read and see this lackluster book and movie)
However reluctant I was in seeing The Reader, a minute into it greatly suppressed and changed my uncertainties. The film was everything it was supposed to be and should’ve been. The film gloriously succeeded in illustrating the two main characters to an unmistakable tee. It did not surpass the success of the book but it created a league of its own- which is often hard to do. The movie did not try to recreate every noteworthy dialogue (a common mistake with these types of films) but added to it what only a film could do. Words help create imagery for the creative and open mind while scenes on film gently, subtly and quietly portray what cannot be expressed in words- this film certainly did that. The only thing I feel needs to be mentioned is that, although had you not read the book, I would imagine it to be just as terrific but having read the book first, it did build an initial emotional connection for the viewer and the piece- almost a history with the movie.
Even though through its entire plot I knew very well the story and its end, I still could not wait to see how it was going to turn out. Each scene was just as impressive, moving, suspenseful and lasting as the previous. The director and, more incredibly, the actors truly did justice for this book on film and I highly recommend anyone who wishes to see the movie, to read the book first.