Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Random Movie Review: Sophie's Choice

Sophie's Choice (1982)
Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol

I think we've all heard of or know about what Sophie's choice in this movie was.  What I didn't know was that it wouldn't be revealed until much later in the movie than I would have thought. Having kids, I had to bring myself to watch this movie, but I thought I should since it's a 'classic'. Having just watched a war movie, then a post-war movie, I suppose I must watch a post-post-war movie, whatever that is.

Stingo, an aspiring writer moves into a New York City apartment and quickly encounters the upstairs neighbours Sophie and Nathan. The initial argument between the couple almost brings Stingo to leave. Instead, however, the couple apologizes to him and they quickly become friends. Stingo slowly learns about Sophie's struggles in Poland and how the couple met once she came to the USA, but Sophie holds back some information. After meeting Nathan's brother, Stingo realizes it isn't only Sophie that is holding back information. Nathan's claims to high education and research turn out to be paranoid schizophrenia. Stingo and Sophie escape to a hotel during a bout of rage from Nathan and Sophie reveals to Stingo that she was forced to choose between which of her children would live and which would die while in a concentration camp.

The movie has been parodied in pop culture on many different TV shows and movie scenes. The term Sophie's choice has become synonymous with choosing between two things (in most situations with satire/sarcasm. ie: 'I can't decide between the fish and the duck' 'a real Sophie's choice you've got on your hands'.) Not that making a hard choice is a new thing in literature or media or anything like that

Meryl Streep's acting was at its best in this role. One of those performances that if you didn't know who she was, you would certainly think she was actually a Polish women struggling to learn English. The inflection and pauses were great. As was quickly becoming evident at the time, Meryl Streep is one of the premiere actresses of the last four decades.This movie, combined with Kramer vs. Kramer and The Deer Hunter would prove to be a strong start to a long and illustrious career. The choosing a kid to die part unsettled me a little, but not enough to drop below a 7.75/10.

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