Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial. (IMDb)
Warning you now, There are spoilers.
Ok. So basically this movie had potential, story wise. The problem was, it was too evenly split between young Michael Berg (David Kross) and older Michael Berg (Ralph Fiennes). What I mean is, there should have been more about the war trial and keeping the secret, and less about him sending books to her years later, or vice versa. Both of them are almost complete stand alone storylines that stem from the initial affair. Both of them are interesting, but they should have picked one to focus more on. Also, the characters were a little sloppy. The motives behind their decisions are muddy. Why did Hanna (Kate Winslet) start the affair? Why didn’t the college age Michael say anything about her illiteracy? Why didn’t older Michael write her back? Why really did Hanna kill herself? Just really unclear decisions, and I honestly don’t really know if it’s the writing or the acting, it may be both. Also, this may be a technical thing, but I just had a really hard time believing that Michael and Hanna would look relatively the same after eight years (58-66). But add 10 more and all of a sudden he’s Ralph Fiennes and she has a complete head of gray hair. Now. All of this being sudden, this is a really intriguing story, especially the part that takes place in the 60s with the war trials. The process of how they charged these people was really interesting, and the part where Michael walked through an abandoned concentration camp was haunting. Also, David Kross is really good as the young Michael, his transition in the eight year gap from a teenager to an older law student is really well done. Also, Kate Winslet was fantastic as well, although, to be honest, I saw her chest more than I cared to see. So, although this isn’t a horrendous movie, there are better Oscar winning films out there.