The Reader

2008 R 2h 5m Blu-ray / DVD

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The Reader

2008 R 2h 5m Blu-ray / DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
In this haunting drama, middle-aged lawyer Michael Berg reflects on the brief but formative sexual relationship he had as a teen with an older woman in 1950s Germany -- and his feelings years later upon learning she was on trial for Nazi war crimes.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen 1.85:1
English, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 1.85:1
English: Dolby True HD, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 17+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 17+
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age 17+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this mature drama revolves around the sexual relationship between a 15-year-old boy and a much older woman. There are extensive sex scenes, full-frontal nudity, and a real, raw sense of sensuality throughout the first half of the film. The woman is later revealed to be an ex-Nazi prison guard on trial for her actions during the war; this involves extensive discussion of Nazi Germany's crimes against Jews and other victims of the Holocaust. There's also lots of talk about heavy, complex topics like complicity, guilt, shame, forgiveness, and responsibility. It's worth noting that even with the story's powerful undercurrent of eroticism, the Bernhard Schlink book it's based on is a staple of German high school class reading.

Sexual Content

Extensive depictions of sexual activity, with frequent sex scenes and images of male and female full-frontal nudity. The film revolves around a sexual relationship between a 15-year-old boy and a woman twice his age. That said, she doesn't force him into anything (or vice versa) -- the two consensually embark on their highly volatile, charged erotic relationship.


Some scuffling; a woman slaps a man. Depiction of a suicide. Discussion of prisoners burning to death while trapped inside a burning church, as well as the mass-murder mechanics of the Holocaust.


Some strong language, including "Nazi" and "whore."

Social Behavior

Extensive discussion of the Holocaust; extensive discussion of German complicity and guilt during the Holocaust, as well as the nation's attempts to come to terms with the Nazi era in the post-war years. Discussions of morality versus legality.


Some mention of brands like Siemens and BASF electronics, as well as books like Huckleberry Finn, Tintin, Lady Chatterly's Lover, and more.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Extensive smoking; characters also drink hard liquor and beer.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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