Six Movies Like 'The Reader'

Updated on November 19, 2019
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Rahul is a movie addict who can never get enough of good films. His all time favorites are Inception, 12 Angry Men, and Scarface.

What Movies Are Like The Reader?

Hannah, a German woman who can’t read, is a good samaritan and helps Michael, a teenage boy. They enter into a romantic relationship, unaware of the ramifications it's going to have later on in the future. As he is completing his law studies, his class attends a court case where Hannah is one of several defendants in a post-war prosecution of suspected Nazi collaborators.

He knows she can’t read, a fact which could lessen her guilt and sentence, but she chooses to remain silent, in effect sealing her fate. This film focuses on moral grey areas, the ambiguity facing the protagonists and those around them. Just like millions did nothing and stood by without defending the Jews, there are those who similarly will standby preferring to accept half-truths about an accused person and watch as they are condemned to suffer and die.

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet charms the viewers once again in this mind-indulging script. This movie was adapted from the book The Reader, authored by Bernhard Schlink, and manages to deliver the same emotional outbursts. "Desires, memories, fears, passions form labyrinths in which we lose and find and then lose ourselves again." This quote from the book truly summarizes the essence of the whole pic.

The highly conflicted protagonist is more eager to admit the guilt rather than to be exposed that she is illiterate. This hints at the paradoxical nature of human beings, where we are ready to accept unfair punishment rather than face the weight of personal embarrassment.

The Reader transports its audience to not just a darker place and time in our history, but touches upon our innocence, as well as our yearning for life, as we wish it even after knowing the pointlessness of controlling events. The Reader is many things in one movie, mainly a reflection of the loss of all that was once most dear in our lives, and the hope of finding peace and justice when history does not care at all for it.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but the ones who do are forced to watch while everyone else repeats it. So, if you’ve already had a taste of this masterpiece, here’s a list of similar movies to The Reader that’ll bring forth the same emotional reactions.

1. Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road is depressing, but I say that in the nicest way possible. This film is about the suffering of the human soul; there's no measuring it, or comparing it, but you know it’s there. The story focuses on these immeasurable problems, taking you down a rabbit hole of melancholy and disparity.

While some who watch it might cast judgment at the characters or perhaps even the writer, this movie painstakingly portrays that judgments won't make these problems go away. It's a dreadful movie, but beautifully done, and quite powerful.

Revolutionary Road reminds a person to live their life to the fullest, each moment at a time because that's as much as you can do with the limited time you have on this planet. A realistic portrayal of contempt and compromise in relationships is rarely shown on screen, and that’s what makes Revolutionary Road a unique gem. The lead actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, charm us with their on-screen chemistry once again in this heartbreaking tale. Beautiful writing, extremely well-sketched characters, and a cynical take on the drama genre make for a compelling storyline.

2. Remember Me

This 2010 drama/romance is relatable to every adolescent out there. As the main character once says, "Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it, cause nobody else will."

Being a troubled son, a beloved brother, a good roommate, or a complicated boyfriend is significant. Serving an important role in life is significant. No matter how things can devastate and depress you, you'll always find a way to fight back and get the things you need, though they may not always be the things you want.

The movie will evoke different emotions and different times throughout its run. Robert Pattinson has really come a long way since Twilight as he portrays the central character with depth and utmost respect for his emotions. Not everyone will be satisfied with the way the movie ends, but it's still well worth a look.

Despite the controversial ending, the low score on IMDB still is surprising, to say the least. The movie successfully conveys a meaningful message along the way, so the rating should definitely be higher. The herd mentality, however, seems to have prevailed. I’d suggest you pick this movie for your next viewing session.

If you're looking for some movies like The Reader, Remember Me should be right up your alley.

3. Schindler’s List

Chilling is one of the more accurate terms to use to describe this film. This is not a horror movie; it’s a snapshot of the industrialized genocide in the form of the Holocaust. It's also the story of a self-indulgent German businessman who became an unlikely hero.

Spielberg pays close attention to historical details, including dates, names, people, places, with a specific focus on appalling levels of deprivation and brutality. To the occupying Germans, the Jews are little more than untermensch (sub-human), villains that must be eradicated from all of Europe. Stunning acting, impeccable direction, a flawless script and a magnificent portrayal of one of the most horrifying periods in human history, Schindler's List is right alongside one of the best movies ever produced in the history of cinema.

The pic arguably brings the audience as close to the sufferings of those affected by the holocaust as cinema possibly can. Spielberg has brilliantly documented his genius by creating one of the greatest films the industry has ever seen. Even the music is hauntingly beautiful and creates a palpable environment, making the viewers recoil at the horror of human nature at its darkest.

If Hollywood ever creates its own Mount Rushmore, Schindler’s List would definitely make the pick. It is an emotionally strong and thought-provoking movie that will leave you thinking, long after the credits roll.

4. Titanic

Now let’s try something that portrays the lighter side of life, albeit surrounded by one of the most recognized tragedies in the world. The story of Titanic itself is a tragic tale, but some of the people who were aboard this mighty ship experienced something that was nothing short of extraordinary.

In this James Cameron rendition, we see Jack and Rose, two people from different backgrounds, come together and show us the true meaning of love and sacrifice. It gave Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet their big break, and simultaneously gave the audience a feeling that would never be recreated again. Almost everybody by now knows how the story actually ends, but it’s the events that happened during the voyage that matters.

The direction, production, and acting are spot on! On top of that, Celine Dion breathes life into the movie with 'My Heart Will Go On'. It's difficult to imagine that a three-hour movie could take years to produce. The insurmountable success of this pic, however, is a testimony to the passion and determination of everyone involved with this project.

It is a timeless classic and, in my opinion, is still unparalleled. For those of you who still haven't seen it, take a box of tissue papers and sit back as you get ready to experience a wide range of emotions.

5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I’m starting to think Kate Winslet is the master of choosing emotionally strong scripts since she’s a part of yet another movie on the list. One of the funniest men on the planet, Jim Carrey, plays a serious character in 2010’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, proving his caliber once again.

Only a few movies can make you feel pain and happiness at the same time, and this one definitely does. The movie successfully showcases love in its most raw, naked, truthful, vulnerable yet sad form, exposing you to a bittersweet story that'll stay with you long after credits roll.

It feels like a sci-fi movie at first but deep down, it’s really a philosophical one. If memories could be selectively erased and you erase everything about the person you love, will emotions emerge when you see the person again?

This pic tries to answer this question. This two-hour movie will test your patience with its twists and turns, so be patient and watch the drama with an open mind.

Most heartbroken people wish to completely erase and forget their traumas, but this movie shows us that even though memories are malleable, emotions are not. Get ready to reminisce on your own heartbreaks as you watch the universe try to reunite two interconnected souls.

Those looking for a movie like The Reader will not be disappointed here.

6. The Pianist

Based on the director Roman Polanski’s own life, The Pianist is another story about the true horrors of World War 2. It's a beautiful melancholic drama that takes you on an emotional journey through the life of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a holocaust survivor played by Adrian Brody, who delivers a powerhouse performance. The actor supposedly left his apartment, almost starved himself, and lost 13 kg for the role. It‘s a very honest and realistic portrayal of someone just trying to survive.

We have seen many inspiring movies featuring the lives of soldiers who put everything on the line. This, however, showcases the struggles commoners faced due to the decisions of a few radicals. One moment they had everything and the next day, they were treated worse than stray animals.

I know that an Oscar is not the only measure of a film’s success, but it managed to win three golden statues and a permanent place in Hollywood’s greatest treasures.

Did I miss out on any other movies like The Reader? Let me know in the comments section.

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