Full disclosure - the only reason I watched this terrible movie was because Marc gave me a copy of it. I knew it was going to be bad but I wanted to know just how bad. The answer - pretty pretty pretty darn bad.
That being said, it was never boring. It was so ridiculous that I couldn't stop watching it and I enjoyed the entire experience. The same can not be said for Changeling which I jettisoned after 45 minutes. That movie is bad and boring. A bad combo.
Or maybe I didn't mind this movie too much because each scene (at least in the first half) carried the promise that maybe Kate Winslet would be naked.
Some of my favorite bad moments. Spoilers galore.
1. The first time the 15-year-old and Katie have sex is so silly. Get in the tub! You got dirty! Let me scrub you clean! Turn around! Feels good, yes? Yes! Yes! Read to me!!!!!!!! Now!!
2. The bombastic score was out of control.
3. Kate Winslet's ridiculous makeup as she aged.
4. Just because Katie W doesn't know how to read doesn't mean she's stupid right? Does she really not understand how she's being sold out by her fellow guards? A great moment in the trial is when one of the survivors discusses how they all thought at first that she had a heart and was different from the other sadistic guards because at night she asked the prisoners to read to her. Cut to the boy who grows up to be Ralph Fiennes as he pieces together Katie's shameful secret!
5. Oh the shame of not being able to read! She'd rather take the entire blame than admit she doesn't know how to read!!!! Oh the shame! Being the mastermind of mass murder - no problem. Admitting that you can't read - no thanks. The moment when this becomes apparent to the one day Ralph Fiennes in court as Katie W admits guilt is my favorite moment of the movie.
6. The whole montage sequence of Katie W learning how to read through the cassettes that the aging Ralph Fiennes sends her in prison is heelarious!
7. I love how we learn she can now write. At first, she scribbles when she has to sign for the books that Ralphie sends her. Later, she concentrates hard and writes her name. Brilliant! Get this woman an Oscar!
8. She commits suicide right as she's about to be released by hanging herself by stepping off the pile of books she had acquired over the years after she had taught herself to read. Praise Jesus! She can read. And now there's nothing else left.
Reviewing my list, I realize that the movie didn't fully go crazy bad until the 2nd half when the young Ralphie as a journalist student realizes that his former lover is an SS Guard when he hears her voice in court.
This movie is Oscar bait in the worst way. Holocaust themes, the bombastic score, the Kate Winslet, the serious tone. At least it didn't win. The book that it is based on can't be as clumsy as the movie, right?
I'm assuming that Winslet had already signed up for this movie when she filmed this scene for Extras which makes the scene even funnier in retrospect. Brilliant.
Directed by Stephen Daldry
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