Film of the month: Sophie’s Choice
Our choices can define us. They can decide the fate of our own lives and those around us. Faced with the most horrific and heart-wrenching decisions people are often stripped down to their true self. This is a concept this film explores thoroughly, when Sophie is confronted with the hardest choice of all.
Sophie, incredibly portrayed by Meryl Streep, is a beautiful polish immigrant and a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. The story is narrated from the point of view of Stingo, who moved to New York from the South with the ambition of becoming a writer. He befriends Sophie and her unstable lover Nathan Landau and learns of her tragic life in Germany, and what she had to endure.
Whilst the overall theme of this film is dark there are many light-hearted moments which helps make this film more endearing. The acting is incredibly powerful from the main leads and Meryl Streep was a deserving Oscar winner for her portrayal of Sophie. There are many films which have dealt with the Holocaust subject but this film could be considered unique in its approach and understanding of the impact on a single human being and the lasting effect it has on their life.
Director Alan. J Pakula skilfully directs the complex flashback sequences that slowly unfold Sophie’s past, and which helps the narrative to flow seamlessly but however the pacing at times can drag on which can prevent the viewer from being totally absorbed into power of this film.
Sophie’s choice is compelling and beautifully scripted, it takes the viewer on an emotional, and intense journey whilst also adding humour at various points which can seem out of place at times for a serious film such as this.
I found this film very impactful. With the horrors of the Holocaust seemingly so long ago I have to remind myself that there are people alive today who not only lived at that time but there are those who actually endured the unimaginable hardship of being interned in one of those camps, surely the closest thing to hell on earth. This type of film helps younger generations understand the lasting effect that actions in the past can have and hopefully help prevent anything like the Holocaust happening again. As a result you need to be in the right frame of mind to sit and watch this film as it will undoubtedly have a lasting effect on you and is heavily in contrast to many of the action packed but ultimately empty films so often fed to us by the Hollywood film machine.
I have to say that this film is not suitable to all, it is very tragic and moving; it will make you cry, laugh and make you appreciate life and understand sorrow.
Warning: It will make you cry!