Michael Berg (David Kross), age 15, is coming home one day from school when he suddenly becomes ill and gets sick in the street. Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet) is there and throws a pail of water on the ground to clean his mess and also washes his hands, face and shoes. Once home, Scarlet Fever has Michael bed ridden for weeks. But when he's feeling better, he takes flowers to Hanna's home to thank her for the care she showed that day. The two instantly develop a close bond that turns sexual as Hanna, twice his age, seduces him. But their relationship it's not only sexual and Hanna enjoys when Michael reads to her the novels he's brought from school. The two can not mention their love affair to anyone. Michael constantly dreams about his first love and as he arrives at her home, he finds the house abandoned with no message from her. Michael is devastated and withdrawals from other woman in his life. Hanna was offered a new desk position promotion at her job but rather than take it she instead leaves to become a guard. Even eight years later as he attends college to study law, he still thinks about his affair with Hanna and how she scarred his heart for life by abandoning him.
In college, his class is allowed to attend a trial of women convicted of aiding in the executions of Jews in Nazi concentration camps. Hanna is one of the woman on trial and as he watches her, memories of their past come back to haunt him. He also realizes something about Hanna that could dramatically change the events of the trial. But he can not intervene and Hanna is sentenced to prison. Michael (Ralph Fiennes), now a grown man, will find that even though his life has been seriously altered by Hanna, he can't abandon her in her time of need.
2008 - The Reader - Alliance of Women Film Journalists - Best Depiction of Nudity or Sexuality
2008 - The Reader - Alliance of Women Film Journalists - Best Actress
2008 - The Reader - Chicago Film Critics Association - Best Supporting Actress
2008 - The Reader - Hollywood Foreign Press Association - Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
2008 - The Reader - Las Vegas Film Critics Association - Best Young Actor
2008 - The Reader - Las Vegas Film Critics Association - Best Actress
2008 - The Reader - San Diego Film Critics Association - Best Actress
2008 - The Reader - Vancouver Film Critics - Best Actress
Miramax Films, The Weinstein Company
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writer: David Hare
Producers: Scott Rudin, Redmond Morris, Sydney Pollack