Yikes–I am so very tired! This evening I went to dinner with an ex-lover, whom I shall henceforth refer to as “Mr. Martini”–due to his intense love of them (and James Bond-like demeanor) and the fact that he’s several years my senior. We then went to a film (“The Reader”) and though I swore I’d be calling it an early night tonight, the temptation of martinis and satisfying discussion of a rather intense film were too much for me.
Needless to say, I have a ton of ideas buzzing in my mind right now, which I will fully update you on tomorrow, but I wanted to give a quick review of the film since it’s fresh on my mind still (or at least relatively fresh–says the girl with major short-term memory loss).
Firstly, I must say that Kate Winslet gave a brilliant performance–quelle surprise. As I told Mr. Martini, I have never seen her fail to deliver a great performance. She slips into rolls so seamlessly it’s almost disconcerting.
The other performances were pretty amazing too, so a general A plus on the acting skills of those cast.
For those who do not know, this film is somewhat of a historical drama, which delves into the aftermath of WWII from an alternative perspective, both ideologically and literally–as the film is set in Germany. I found this very refreshing (a characteristic that pretty much dominates my preference for certain films).
Of course, this is all told within the framework of a passionate love affair, which is not altogether appropriate. This really “hit home” for Mr. Martini and I, as when we met our relationship was somewhat improper…not in a completely immoral way or anything though (I’ll explain tomorrow.)
In my opinion, the love affair is essential to the fact that the film succeeds in exploring the guilt of the Germans, and the anger/pain of the Jews targeted by the Nazis without losing any of the humanity in the characters–something that is no doubt difficult when the subject matter is Germans during the Holocaust. So often, in film, when the horrific nature of what went on in Nazi Germany is the focus of the story, those upon whom it was inflicted are the ones that are focused upon–in this, we get to see the horrors of being on the other side as well. The film succeeds in not making any proclamations of sympathy for the guilty party, but rather draws the audience to certain conclusions about morality and its objectivity (or lack thereof) through the emotional subtext of the love affair between the characters.
The thing that struck me most about the film, throughout the entire story, was the great humanity with which the characters were depicted–I could feel their pain, their uncertainty, their fear and their regret. Though the setting of the story is not easily relatable, the characters and their stories are beautiful in their portrayal of the experience of living and the struggles it can bring.
I suppose I can’t say much more without giving it away, but I highly recommend seeing this film–if only for the steamy love scenes. :)
Other random things I loved–the literature (some of my favourites), the examination of literacy (a pet project/issue of mine), and the overall poignancy of several moments within the film (most films lack even one truly poignant moment.)
My one complaint, though, is that there was some discontinuity in terms of setting/time period–I am definitely not a details-oriented person, so the fact that I noticed this means it was quite flagrant. That said, I don’t imagine the film had a particularly roomy budget, so set dressing probably wasn’t at the top of their priority list.
All in all, I really enjoyed the film, although seeing it with Mr. Martini made me wonder if the Universe was playing a joke on me tonight–you see, the concept of morality (an overarching motif of the film) is something we have frequently discussed, and the relationship in the film paralleled ours in more ways than one. Neither of us really knew anything about the film and it was completely serendipitous that we even went to the cinema this evening–and the way things played out really makes me wonder if there is such a thing as fate. Anyone want to comment on this notion? Because I’m not sure if I’m onto something or I had too many dirty martinis…thinking it could be the latter.
Must sleep this off!