1 Year, 100 Movies: #91 Sophie’s Choice (1982)

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For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!

This film tells the story of a Polish immigrant, Sophie Zawistowski (Meryl Streep),  her lover Nathan Landau (Kevin Kline), and their new neighbor, writer Stingo (Peter MacNicol). We get a glimpse of things to come with Nathan’s explosion at Sophie the first time Stingo sees either of them. They all soon become the best of friends and share many good experiences while getting to know one another. It soon comes out through Stingo’s perspective and Sophie’s flashbacks that Sophie was interned in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and lost her two children, a young boy and girl there.

I won’t give away the revelation in the plot- but I will say that it explains why Sophie is so sad and keeps going back to Nathan, even though he can be violent- and (unbenounced to her) is a paranoid schizophrenic. The revelation also explains what Sophie’s choice was- and following that the new choice that leads to the conclusion to the movie. So sad. 😦

This movie was great for several reasons. The main reason is Meryl Streep. She’s simply amazing. I totally get what the big deal is now. Also, the flashbacks to the concentration camp scenes are worth the cost of admission alone. There’s one scene in particular where Sophie gets caught by the commandants’ child trying to steal the radio to use for the internal resistance in the camp. She faints and the child talks to her instead of getting her in trouble. She tells her about her childhood growing up and shows her pictures in her scrapbook. In the scrapbook were pictures of when her family was stationed at the Dachau Concentration camp. This was particularly interesting (and unsettling) for me since I toured the Dachau camp last summer on my trip to Europe. You can see that post here.

It’s not a movie you could watch frequently since it’s so emotionally draining, but if you’ve never seen it do yourself a favor and make sure you do.

In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns:

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