It’s official. I feel like a jerk. Yesterday, Kevin and I decided to get out of the house for a few hours and head to a matinee. After much discussion and rottentomatoes.com research, we decided to see The Reader for the following reasons: 1) I’d heard it was good 2) I love Kate Winslet but didn’t think I could withstand Revolutionary Road without wanting to slit my wrists or drink heavily afterward 3) It was nominated for several Oscars–how can it be bad?
Yes, the acting was excellent. Yes, the direction, cinematography, etc., was commendable. Kate Winslet’s performance was excellent as was Ralph Fiennes (who I didn’t realize I loved so much). The movie was by all technical accounts very good. Perhaps even superb. But that didn’t mean that I liked it.
Typically, I’m a very empathetic person and when I get caught up in a movie and the emotions (take Atonement for example) I’m devastated for days…weeks even. When the characters feel despair, I feel despair. There were plenty of parts where I should have felt during this film, but I did not. Kate’s character, a german woman named Hanna, was totally cold, stern, and bottled up. She was, in essence, very german (no offense–I’m part german myself). She expressed no vulnerability and I think that her harshness kept me from connecting with her. I’m just not sure if I didn’t get her, or if I just didn’t want to get her. I was also mildly disturbed by her relationship with Ralph Fiennes and while I was deeply saddened by his life as a result of that affair, it wasn’t quite enough to captivate me because I was never entirely sold on their love for one another.
So, at the end of the film when the credits were going, my fellow theater goers were sniffling, wiping away tears, and basically paralyzed by the sadness that they felt….and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. And I felt like a big old jerk.