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Sophie's Choice (1982)

tomatometer

50

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

No consensus yet.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 20,640

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

R,

Drama, Romance

William Styron

Aug 17, 1999

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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All Critics (28) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (6) | DVD (2)

Astoundingly tedious.

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

And while Meryl Streep's performance is largely worthy of its laurels ... the film around it is much harder to forgive. Beyond Streep, Sophie's Choice is little more than a tediously assembled WWII drama of interminable length.

August 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

The way Streep inhabits Sophie, and brings her history to life whether she's explicitly talking about the past or carrying herself across the room with wounded grace, can't help but make parts of the rest of the film seem smaller by comparison.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

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
Video-Reviewmaster.com

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
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)
Film4

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: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

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
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

Review coming to themoviefreakblog.com
August 3, 2014
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

Though this film is ultimately just an exercise in melodrama, the character of Sophie Zawistowska is very complex and interesting to watch, and by no means hampered by the brilliant performance from Meryl Streep. Essentially this film is pegged as a story about the Holocaust, but it's much more than that. Though there are undoubted horrors seen onscreen, and this film deals with true facts about the inhuman exploits of the Nazis, the story is more about guilt. Everyone hides something horrible in their past, Sophie included, and that shame and repugnance shape whatever decisions we make in the future. Sophie has a very dire choice to make, and because of it she feels she doesn't deserve happiness in the future. Atrocities loom in her periphery, but she's trying to be friendly with Stingo (MacNichol) and romantic with Nathan (Kline), cheery and forgotten to her past, untied to her family. Using the Holocaust as a backdrop helps permeate the grandiosity of her guilt, and shows the terrors inflicted upon her, though any number of other historical atrocities would have served the same major purpose of influencing Sophie's guilt. It's not until the very last minutes of the film that we realize the true gravity of that guilt, and we understand the outcome for Sophie, Stingo, and Nathan. While it may not have aged especially well, there's still such vibrancy, and the illuminating performance from Streep will hold weight even decades in the future.
July 29, 2014
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

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
ApeneckFletcher

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
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

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