By Chris Nashawaty
April 08, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT
Melinda Sue Gordon
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  • Movie

Can the endorsement of both the Oscars and Oprah’s Book Club ever be wrong? Absolutely. But not here. Adapted from Bernhard Schlink’s 1997 best-seller, The Reader is a three-hankie haymaker is a prestige picture that delivers. A teenage German boy (fantastic newcomer David Kross) tumbles into a passionate, secret affair with an older woman (Best Actress winner Winslet). He reads The Odyssey to her before rounds of steamy lovemaking. Then she vanishes and breaks his young heart. Years later, he rediscovers her when she is put on trial for war crimes committed as a guard at Auschwitz. Fiennes, at his icy best, helps stick the landing as the grown-up version of Kross’ character in the film’s flashback framing device. ?EXTRAS include a heap of deleted scenes (none of which are missed) and a peek at Winslet’s old-age makeup regimen. A?

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