Skip to comments.The Oscar for worst excuse for sex in a film...
Posted on 03/09/2009 11:58:04 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
We just got around to seeing "The Reader" this weekend (warning: plot spoilers below). I don't think I've ever seen a movie that I felt ruined my weekend. This was a first for me.
If only there were an Oscar for worst excuse for sex in a film, "The Reader" could have garnered the Oscar it deserved. As it was, Kate Winslet won the best actress award for her sympathetic potrayal of an Auschwitz camp guard in the film.
The first hour of the film is devoted to a graphic portrayal of the postwar affair between Winslet's character Hanna Schmitz and the teenage high school boy whom she makes her lover. Why the need to see Kate Winslet naked and simulating sex? I think it has something to do with the filmmakers' desire to create an irresistible box-office combination of pornography yoked with a high-minded view of the Holocaust.
Ron Rosenbaum dispenses justice of a sort in his condemnation of "The Reader." Rosenbaum rightly objects to the portrayal of an Auschwitz camp guard as an innocent victim of the Holocaust. Any decent person who understands what is going on would be disgusted by the film several times over.
One cause for disgust not mentioned by Rosenbaum is the contrast drawn between Hanna Schmitz and a surviving victim of her mass murder (leaving 300 Jews locked in a burning church). At the end of the film, Schmitz has served 20 years in a West German prison for her crime. She is about to be released, but chooses this moment to hang herself in her cell.
The filmmakers exercise great tact regarding the scene of Schmitz's death. They only show Winslet stacking up her books on the floor in order to hang herself. When it comes to depicting Winselt dying the filmmakers are far more reserved than when depicting Winslet naked. Such taste! This is art.
The scene cuts from Schmitz's shabby cell to a luxury apartment in the United States. Schmitz's now adult ex-lover delivers the money saved by Schmitz in prison to the survivor who testified against her at her trial. The stark contrast drawn by the film between the survivor living in luxury and the former Auschwitz guard living modestly in prison (teaching herself to read) represents a vicious fantasy that by itself captures the revolting animus of the film.
The filmakers must not view sex and death in the same light.
In the hopes of helping to raise the level of discourse on what could become a rather low brow thread, I’ll just comment that “I’d hit it”.
I’d have to see what Kate has to offer before rendering my opinion . . . and my first guess is that it’s a lot . . . probably will wait till the DVD release and then watch it with the sound off. She’s a charmer.
hmm isn’t that like necrophilia?
The Reader doesn't do that.
It portrays her war-crimes trial, at which she readily and bluntly admits to her crimes. How anyone finds an "innocent victim" in that is beyond me.
NO. Not the survivor. The survivor's daughter.
I don’t think you saw the same movie as Petronski.
Ooops. Mother and daughter were both survivors. My bad.
Didn’t you see the Titanic?
Note since the shower scene in Twister...
Correct, it was her daughter. But, when I saw the film, I too thought that the vivid contrast between the dingy prison and a multi-million dollar Park Ave. apartment was curious. The survivor's daughter couldn't have been living in Queens or a suburb of Cincinnati, for that matter? No. I think they were intentionally painting survivors and their offspring as people who have done remarkably well since the end of the war. It begs the question, why?
Last, I too agree that Winslet's character was painted in a sympathetic light and gave great deference to her argument, both implicit and explicit, that she was an "uneducated" victim of her own circumstance. Ridiculous. She was an active participant in a an attempt to exterminate and entire race.
But, what do I know? I'm just a mid-west raised Catholic who went to school to be an economist, not a filmmaker. The significant population of Jewish-Americans that make up the Academy of Motion Picture's Art and Sciences saw it differently.
I didn't find her sympathetic at all, nor do I think she was portrayed as such.
The sympathy angle comes from the fact that she admitted them in order to cover up her illiteracy. Though how an illiterate could process tram tickets and make change all day beats men.
Someone else here referred to it as soft porn. Too bad Hollywood has to depend on sex to sell a movie, especially with a great actress as Kate.
Also, too bad she will regret it years from now when her children see Mommy’s naked body sold out to Hollywood (while Daddy directed the whole event).
Kate’s one of the top actresses in the industry. She didn’t have to sink so low.
So that we might recognize that no amount of greater success on the victims' part, nor no amount of punishment on the perpetrators' part, could undo the horror of what the latter did to the former during the Holocaust.
In other words, Hanna was reduced to nothing, yet her punishment was not enough. Ilana was elevated to great wealth and comfort, yet it could not assuage the pain of the evil she endured.
Follywood reeks with the putrid odor of godless souls destined for Hell. No decent person is entertained by viewing depravity, much less enabling evil by paying for it.
Hey, she wanted an Oscar.
That wasn't how it went.
She readily admitted she was one of six, and everything they did. She falsely accepted blame for the memo (and thus got life rather than 5 years) to conceal her illiteracy.
I need more visual evidence to determine how offended I should be.
How long before this gets to the dollar movie?
In real life there is no “bad” excuse for sex.
“The Oscar for worst excuse for sex in a film...”
My nomination goes to the gratutiuous and completely out of place bedroom scene in “Kindergarden Cop”
As with most of what Hollyweird sells -- junk that is too juvenile for adults and too graphic for children.
Ah, my wife at 19! God Bless Woman!
"I mean, I don't think we need another film about the Holocaust, do we? It's like, how many have there been? No, we get it, it was grim, move on. No, I'm doing this because I've noticed that if you do a film about the Holocaust, guaranteed an Oscar. I've been nominated four times. Never won. The whole world is going, 'Why hasn't Winslet won one?'... That's it. That's why I'm doing it. Schindler's bloody List. The Pianist. Oscars coming out of their arse."
--Kate Winslet, Extras
Yeah, the Best Actress Award goes to portayal of a pedophile and the Best Actor to the portrayal of a homosexual. Go figure.
It’s very simple, really. I think we all agree that between seeing Kate Winslet naked and seeing Kate Winslet dead...live naked Kate wins every time.
Kate has been doing naked on screen for a long, long time.
Kate was a heavy teenager and had trouble later on living up to the film industry's weight standards.
That she had an uphill battle and has been upfront about it makes her perhaps more admirable than other stars and starlets.
I am scratchinng my head at the concerted effort to belttle, condemn, mock, and marginalise this film. I have seen all of this years majors, Milk, Slumdog, etc. The Reader is the only movie which was at least worth the time spent watching.
That made me laugh out loud. Great find!
I admit to falling asleep watching Slumdog. But I’ve been assured by those who endured for the “Bollywood” dance ending, that I was fortunate.
Point well taken.
FWIW, the best movie that I saw last year was a tiny film call "In Bruges". It's probably not for everyone, but for me it really worked.
It's a character study that's focused on two assassins that need to lay low for a while. Bruges it's self becomes a character all it's own. The dialogue is interesting, Colin Ferrel gives his best performance yet, and Ralph Fienes and Brendan Gleeson both should have been nominated in supporting roles.
Here's the best part - no politics in any way. It does what movies do best; It explores the complexities and frailties of the human condition.
I’ve only seen “Sense and Sensibility” and “Eternal Sunshine...”
In both of those she was excellent. Just from seeing those two performances I could tell she was better than most current actresses.
With her talent she shouldn’t demean herself by unclothing in movies (or magazines for that matter).
May I preemptively recommend the Director's Cut? Haven't seen the movie, but in my limited experience, there tends to be more nekkids in it.
Just an FYI.