Genres: Drama, Romance
Quality: 720p BRRip
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writers: David Hare, Bernhard Schlink
Stars: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz
In 1995 Berlin, after a woman he has spent the night with leaves his apartment abruptly after he has made her breakfast, Michael Berg watches a U-Bahn pass by, setting up a flashback to a tram in 1958. In the flashback, as a 15-year-old boy, Michael (David Kross) feels sick while wandering the streets. Pausing nearby an apartment building he vomits. Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet), a tram conductor returning home, cleans him up and helps him return home. Michael, diagnosed with scarlet fever, recuperates at home, and once recovered, he visits Hanna with flowers to thank her.
The 36-year-old Hanna seduces him, and they begin an affair. They spend much of their time together having sex in her apartment after she has had Michael read to her from literary works he is studying. After a bicycling trip with Michael, Hanna learns that she was promoted to a clerical job at the tram company’s office, upon which she suddenly leaves her home, without telling Michael or anyone else where she has moved to.
In 1966, Michael is at Heidelberg University Law School. As part of a special seminar, the students observe a trial (similar to the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials) of several women accused of letting 300 Jewish women die in a burning church when they were SS guards on the death march following the 1944 evacuation of a concentration camp near Krakow. Michael is stunned to see that Hanna is one of the defendants.
The key evidence in the trial is the testimony of Ilana Mather (Alexandra Maria Lara), author of a memoir relating how she and her mother (Lena Olin), who also testifies, survived. She describes how Hanna had women from the camp read to her in the evenings. Hanna, unlike her co-defendants, admits that Auschwitz was an extermination camp and that the 10 women she chose during each month’s Selektion were gassed. She denied however, authorship of a report on the church fire event, which they blamed on her. Requested to provide a handwriting sample, she admits the charge, rather than to comply with the handwriting test.
Michael then realizes Hanna’s secret: she is illiterate, a fact she has been concealing all her life. The other guards who blamed the written report on her are lying to clear themselves. Michael informs the law professor of the favorable fact, but since the defendant herself has chosen to not disclose it, the professor is not sure what to do about it. Michael, though permitted to visit Hanna, leaves the prison, without seeing her.