This movie is a compelling story of a young man that falls in love with an older woman. They meet by accident when the teen boy is sick and the older woman gives him comfort. The young boy is the character of Michael Berg (played by David Kross). The setting is Germany post World War II in the fifties. The woman he falls in love with, is much older, the character named Hanna Schmidt. She is played by Kate Winslet.
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The unlikely affair combines the young boy's discovery of his sexual blossoming with the need for the older woman to have him read books for her because she is illiterate. The two share an intimacy that only they can understand.
Years later the boy is a young man in law school and to his surprise he sees the woman, who was his lover, on trial for war crimes. He can hardly believe what he is hearing, that the woman he loved as a teen boy was complicit in the death of two hundred prisoners locked in a church that had caught afire. He watches the court proceedings and sees his former lover, falsely admit to writing a letter about the crimes when he knows she cannot read or write.
She goes to prison and for decades he sends her vocal tapes of books he has read for her. There is hope for redemption but nothing can overcome the things she has done.
Best part of story, including ending:
The relationship between the boy and the older woman continues as the boy becomes a man. It is distorted but somehow understandable at the same time.
Best scene in story:
When the boy and an adult man begins to record books for the woman that is incarcerated. It is tender and appropriate.
Opinion about the main character:
That he does not have enough courage to really love the woman in spite of all of her faults.