I read The Reader a couple of years ago when the film came out, but only recently received the film itself to watch. Pleasingly, it is faithful to the book with key elements of the plot, and with actors like Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes it is also a pleasure to watch. It is such a shame that they only have one small scene together.
The story itself concerns a young German boy just after the war, who through a bout of fever meets an older German woman with whom he has an affair. When she suddenly vanishes he is distraught. However he sees her again several years later, but in a courtroom where he discovers that she is a former SS guard.
I won’t give any more of the plot away if you have not read or seen it, since it is worth enjoying the story as it’s meant to be enjoyed. Not that it is necessarily enjoyable, it is actually quite a sad story, and one that stays in the mind for several hours afterwards. The sign, I think, of a good story.
The themes within the story are also quite powerful, too powerful for me to really discuss here in any way that would do them justice. I think you should see the film for yourself and make your own conclusions, or even better, read the book.
As for the film it was excellent, with only two small points of contention in that there was more sex than strictly necessary to the plot, and the film itself was slightly over long. All in all 8 out of 10.