As I mentioned in this post, I have read the novel three times already, so I could not help having some expectations from the film adaptation. Now, we all know that rarely do films capture entirely a book; like exactly how many times have we been disappointed? I would however take exception on a few adaptations, with Atonement and The End of the Affair at the top of my head right now.
All right, I know I should be judging the movie on its own merits without really comparing it with the book. But I cannot help it, I love the book way too much it seems.
That being said, the film adaptation is not a complete disappointment. It was not an outright betrayal I should say, but it could have been better. At least three key episodes of the book were not included in the movie and that still baffles me. These episodes could have added more layers to the movie, and in fact could have explained better the motivations of the characters, e.g. why did Hanna leave the town all of a sudden just when she was promoted in her job?
And yes, I also could not help comparing Kate Winslet's acting in The Reader and Revolutionary Road. Hmmm... I don't get it why she was not nominated for latter instead, or at least in both films. But really, she excelled way, way more in Revolutionary Road.
I'm currently halfway with Doubt, and in as much as I'm a huge Meryl Streep fan, I really, really want Kate to win an Oscar (for crying out loud, Mother Meryl has two of them already!) coz Kate is no doubt one of the best actresses around. With her nomination for The Reader instead of Revolutionary Road, I'm afraid that Meryl has the advantage, as I see it.
Now to bring it further, I'm still puzzled why The Reader is even nominated for Best Picture in the Oscars. The story-telling is nothing ground-breaking. It does not offer anything fresh. The novel has the potential to be gut-wrenching and provocative but the movie is such an average adaption. It does not have any chance to be a classic, which Best Picture nominees should be at least.
Final verdict: while the movie is engaging in some parts, it is easily forgettable as a whole.