Sunday, May 31, 2009
It is hard to say if this movie is a coming of age story, a soft core porn flick or a a crime drama. The truth is it's a little of each. The movie opens in 1955 Berlin with a 15 year-old Michael Berg (David Kross) throwing up and being helped home by 36 year-old Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet). He is diagnosed with scarlet fever and spends the next few months in bed recovering. When he goes back to thank Hanna for her help, they begin an affair that lasts the summer, then she abruptly leaves him. Eight years later Berg attends a Nazi trial as part of a law school seminar where Hanna is accused of being a SS guard responsible for the deaths of over 300 Jews. As the trail plays out Berg realizes he has information that could influence the outcome, but refuses to reveal it. The story continues with the adult Berg's (Ralph Fiennes) relationship with Hanna and how it effects his life moving forward.
Many people were very surprised that Kate Winslet did not win the Academy award for this performance, and I agree she is amazing and it does seem like a major slight. Her character is complicated, you never really like her, but she is very interesting. You want things to work out for her, but then you are forced to remember she is a murderer, even if she was just following orders. After 50 years, it is impressive that this movie can still bring back the angst that Nazi trails generated and how the younger generation related to their elders who clearly were there. It brings up the still unanswered questions of what they saw and why they didn't do more.
Labels: Movie Review