|Kate Winslet||Hanna Schmitz|
|Ralph Fiennes||Older Michael|
|David Kross||Young Michael|
|Lena Olin||Rose Mather/Ilana Mather|
|Bruno Ganz||Professor Rohl|
|Alexandra Maria Lara||Young Ilana Mather|
Michael Berg, a teen in postwar Germany, begins a passionate but clandestine affair with Hanna Schmitz, an older woman who enjoys having classic novels read to her. Then Hanna mysteriously disappears, leaving Michael heartbroken and confused. Years later, Michael, now a law student, gets the shock of his life when he sees Hanna on trial for Nazi war crimes.