Recent Nazi/Holocaust movies at a glance

Movie title: Valkyrie A-list star: Tom Cruise Star's accent: American Most cringe-inducing moment: He frequently removes, cleans and reinserts his glass eye. Take-home message: Lots of Nazis were good. Movie title: The Reader A-list star: Kate Winslet Star's accent: Thick German Most cringe-inducing moment: Cheerful montage in which the incarcerated former concentration-camp guard played by Winslet learns to read. Take-home message: People became Nazis because they were poor and illiterate. Movie title: Good A-list star: Viggo Mortensen Star's accent: Wavers between German and generic European Most cringe-inducing moment: Mortensen's character, an SS officer, wanders around a concentration camp searching for his Jewish friend, apparently shocked by the conditions. Take-home message: Becoming a Nazi can be just another way for an academic to get tenure. Movie title: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas A-list star: David Thewlis (in Britain, he's an A-lister) Star's accent: Very proper British Most cringe-inducing moment: The child of a concentration camp commander sneaks into the camp to play with his Jewish buddy and asks, "Where's the café?" Take-home message: Kids will be kids Movie title: Adam Resurrected A-list star: Jeff Goldblum Star's accent: Mad-professor German Most cringe-inducing moment: Goldblum's character makes the head nurse (Ayelet Zurer) at his mental hospital pretend to be a dog before having sex with her. Take-home message: Pretending to be a dog (and losing your family) can blow your mind. Movie title: Spring 1941 A-list star: Joseph Fiennes Star's accent: Generic Eastern European Most cringe-inducing moment: Fiennes's character has sex in a stable with the Polish woman who has taken in his family. Take-home message: The Holocaust can take the fun out of adultery. Movie title: Defiance A-List star: Daniel Craig Star's accent: Earthy Eastern European Most-cringe inducing moment: Love scene in which Craig and his girlfriend are bathed in golden light. Take-home message: Jews did fight back.