One day, the 15-year-old West German boy Michael Berg falls sick on his way to school and is rescued by the 30-year-old Hanna. They fall in love unexpectedly and start a passionate affair until the day Hanna suddenly and without explanation disappears. Eight years later, Michael is a young law student who observes the ongoing war crime trials against the Nazis. He meets his former mistress again, under very different circumstances. Hanna is accused of a terrible crime and refuses the right to defense. Michael gradually realizes that his youth's love conceals a secret that she considers to be more shameful than murder. Aftonbladet's Jan-Olov Andersson thinks that The Reader is "a touching movie that also shakes you and afterwards you can discuss it for ever."