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.