Sinking Into “The Reader”

winsletthereader.jpg ralph-fiennes_800391c.jpg

Today, I’m letting the cat out of the bag a bit about the most anticipated year-end movie releases. First, I gave you Hal Rubenstein’s rave about “Milk” and its star, Sean Penn. Now, I’m going to tell you that Penn shouldn’t create space on his bathroom shelf just yet for his Oscar, because in addition to Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” Penn is going to face competition from Ralph Fiennes (below) in “The Reader.” (I predict that Kate Winslet’s Oscar is more likely to come as Fiennes’s costar here — she’s pictured, above, in a scene from the movie — in the Best Supporting Actress category, than as Best Actress for “Revolutionary Road.”) As a man who, in middle age, encounters the woman who initiated him into sex and love during the Second World War, Fiennes brings all his slightly decadent, cultivated world-weariness to bear on the story. The movie’s devastating impact owes everything to Fiennes’s restraint. This actor, who seems sexily unconcerned about losing his hair, is ever interesting.

Leave a Comment