The Reader is a 2008 German-American romantic drama film directed by Stephen Daldry and written by David Hare, based on the 1995 German novel of the same name by Bernhard Schlink. Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet star along with the young actor David Kross. It was the last film for producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, both of whom had died prior to release. Production began in Germany in September 2007, and the film opened in limited release on December 10, 2008.
It tells the story of Michael Berg, a German lawyer who, as a mid-teenager in 1958, had an affair with an older woman, Hanna Schmitz, who then disappeared only to resurface years later as one of the defendants in a war crimes trial stemming from her actions as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp. Michael realizes that Hanna is keeping a personal secret she believes is worse than her Nazi past – a secret which, if revealed, could help her at the trial.
Winslet and Kross, who plays the young Michael, received acclaim for their performances; Winslet won a number of awards for her role, including the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film itself was nominated for several other major awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture.