The film entitled The Reader is all about the life of Michael. Michael Berg is a German prosecutor who as a teenager was involved in a relationship with a woman who was older than him. She was 36 years old at the time while Michael was just 15 years old. She actually seduced the boy into having an affair with her. This woman who is known as Hanna vanished for a long time but comes back years after when Michael is grown up and working as a lawyer.
Hanna is involved in a war crime case in which she is the accused. Hanna is taken to court as a result of her faulty dealings she got involved in while working as a guard at a Nazi camp. She is accused of writing a mischievous report. Michael is smart to realize that Hanna has a secret about her past which could be of help the trial.
Michael finds out that Hanna's secret is the fact that she is illiterate. She can neither read nor write and nobody knows about it. Michael immediately figures out that the report had been written by the other female guards at the camp who just wanted to get Hanna into trouble. Michael is convinced because if Hanna is truly illiterate then it means she cannot be the writer of the report in question.
After a thorough examination of the case, Hanna is sentenced to life imprisonment whereas the other guards each receive 4 years and 3 months. Not long after, Michael gets married and divorces shortly after. He starts sending recorded tapes to Hanna in jail to assist her read and write which she really appreciates and follows.
Hanna commits suicide on the day of her release from jail leaving some money for Ilana which Michael takes to her. Ilana however donates the money to charity.
The characters in the film include Ralph Fiennes starring as adult Michael, Kate Winslet starring as Hanna, David Kross as young Michael.