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Sophie's Choice (1982)



Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 20,461

My Rating

Movie Info

The year is 1947. Aspiring southern author Stingo (Peter MacNichol) heads to New York to seek his fortune. Moving into a dingy Brooklyn boarding house, Stingo strikes up a friendship with research chemist Nathan Landau (Kevin Kline) and Nathan's girlfriend, Polish refugee Sophie Zawistowska (Oscar-winner Meryl Streep). There is something unsettling about the relationship; Nathan is subject to violent mood swings, while Sophie seems to be harboring a horrible secret. Stingo soons learns that both


Drama, Romance

William Styron

Aug 17, 1999

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (5) | DVD (1)

Astoundingly tedious.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (3)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The picture is completely devoid of cinematic interest, adopting instead a tiresome theatrical aesthetic in which showy monologues are filmed in interminable, usually ill-chosen long takes.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (4)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By the end, the accumulated weight and lethargy of the production fails to invest Sophie's fate with the significance Styron achieves.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So perfectly cast and well-imagined that it just takes over and happens to you. It's quite an experience.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though it's far from a flawless movie, Sophie's Choice is a unified and deeply affecting one. Thanks in large part to Miss Streep's bravura performance, it's a film that casts a powerful, uninterrupted spell.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A suffocating 151 minutes long, with a healthy portion of that running time devoted to a hunk of Holocausploitation of the most crass and cynical variety. And that's the good part.

November 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy | Comment (1)
Antagony & Ecstasy

Stunning to the max, and Streep is memorable as Sophie.

March 2, 2008

The movie is too Hollywood in look and feel, and the flashback and narration are too conventional, and yet the image of the sickly and pale Meryl Streep recollecting her ordeal lingers in memory long after the film is over.

December 10, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Competently directed by Pakula and [features] gorgeous cinematography by Almendros.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Heartbreakingly lovely performances.

July 20, 2003
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Literary adaptations rarely come more intelligent than this. A beautiful, haunting masterpiece from start to finish.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4 | Comment (1)

Incorporates one woman's narrative of surviving the Holocaust into a larger, crushingly banal story of a young, Southern writer's coming of age in the big city of New York.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks | Comments (4)
Nick's Flick Picks

Wildly depressing.

October 28, 2002
Laramie Movie Scope

"Streep's magnetic, shattering performance haunts the memory"

July 29, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Meryl Streep's role in this film is so overwhelming that she outshines everything else.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

This is the way stories are supposed to be told to us sitting out there in the dark theater.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

A substantial movie, and one serious film watchers won't want to miss.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Sophie's Choice

In Brooklyn in the years following WWll and a young Southern writer falls for a refugee of Auschwitz who is herself embroiled with a charismatic American Jew, only all is not rosy. Everyone is carrying baggage and the film opines that the choices we make (especially with relationships) are directly related to the baggage we carry. Its a mouthful to relay in the space of a film but the actors make it easier, lead by Streep who is at her most luminous.
August 31, 2011

Super Reviewer

Hmm, let's see here: this hasn't aged well, but it's still a decent film filled with excellent performances. Hoenstly, that's really the highlight here. Essentially this film is just high melodrama with a Holocaust stroy thrown in as a way to make a love triangle seem more interesting. That is, of course, a simplification, but not too far from the truth.

I did like this film though, even if I don't see it as beign a real cinematic masterpiece or anything. Maybe had the film focused more on the Holocaust stuff and less on the post war stuff, or maybe had they taken the titular moment and made it the real centerpiece or something I could find this film to be more brilliant, or at least as brilliant as the performances.

That's all anyone seems ot talk about here are the performances, well, mostly Streep's. It's true, this is her greatest achievement as an actress, and this is a beuatiful turn she gives as a Holocaust survivor with a really dark past. The others are good too though. I used to think that peter MacNicol was only good at playing the creep in Ghostbusters II; I'm happy to report that he does a really good job here as well. Kevin Kline gives a remarkable performance as a really unbalanced man with whom you can never predict what he will say or do next. They both get overshadowed by Streep, but that's kinda understandable.

I liked the music, and the look was decent, but the stroy just didn't quite have me like maybe it should have. I'm no ogre. The scene where the film gets it's title is a very heartbreaking and emotional scene-I just wish the rest of the film could have been as focused and stirring. Maybe they could have trimmed some of the running time in the process.

All in all, a decent film, but nothing extremely remarkable, although that goes for the film as a whole, and not the individual parts that make it up. You should see this if only for the acting. One may think that such a statement is overrated, but I disagree. The work here (mostly Streep's) will forever be one of the greatest examples of successful acting ever committed to film.
July 14, 2011
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Sophie's Choice takes you on quite a memorable rollercoaster ride of emotion. It's a film that has great characters and great actors to back them up. You really feel for these individuals and go through all their pains as well as their happy times.

It's not a 'feel good' movie if that is what you are looking for, but it is an interesting perspective on what many people have gone through from a war-torn era.

It's almost like 2 films in one, or at least two storylines in one film, therefore it makes it quite a long one, but it is necessary and leads to an entertaining film.
October 18, 2010

Super Reviewer

What high drama! Sure: the eponymous "choice" is intense, but what makes this film so finely balanced is the subplots with Nathan and Stingo. There is enough light-hearted action to prevent this from becoming a two-and-a-half-hour downer, and the contrasting elements - the light frivolity of Nathan, Sophie's enraptured, co-dependent love for him, and Stingo's gentle, Southern demeanor - make the heavy moments of the film - Nathan's eventual break down and mood swings and the now-famous choice - all the more effective. All of the performances are excellent, but what probably gets lost in the shuffle of Kline's energy and Streep's effortless, bilingual portrayal is MacNicol's steady, heartfelt nature. His performance is so natural and he listens with such a relaxed demeanor that I daresay his is the finest work in this film.
That said, there are moments when the film wanders. There are occasions - albeit few - when I wondered about the film's heavy concentration on the flashbacks, which were not leveraged to the degree they could have been.
Overall, though, it's not the depressing, maudlin tear-jerker I expected and avoided for so long, and the film is better for it.
September 9, 2010
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Le Choix de Sophie (FR)
  • La decisiůn de Sophie (ES)
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