Sophie's Choice (film)

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Sophie's Choice
Sophie's Choice1.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlan J. Pakula
Produced byAlan J. Pakula
Keith Barish
William C.Gerrity
Martin Starger
Written byAlan J. Pakula
Based onSophie's Choice 
by William Styron
StarringMeryl Streep
Kevin Kline
Peter MacNicol
Narrated byJosef Sommer
Music byMarvin Hamlisch
CinematographyNestor Almendros
Editing byEvan Lottman
StudioITC Entertainment
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • December 8, 1982 (1982-12-08)
Running time150 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Polish
German
Budget$9 million[1]
Box office$30,036,000[2]
 
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Sophie's Choice
Sophie's Choice1.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlan J. Pakula
Produced byAlan J. Pakula
Keith Barish
William C.Gerrity
Martin Starger
Written byAlan J. Pakula
Based onSophie's Choice 
by William Styron
StarringMeryl Streep
Kevin Kline
Peter MacNicol
Narrated byJosef Sommer
Music byMarvin Hamlisch
CinematographyNestor Almendros
Editing byEvan Lottman
StudioITC Entertainment
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • December 8, 1982 (1982-12-08)
Running time150 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Polish
German
Budget$9 million[1]
Box office$30,036,000[2]

Sophie's Choice is a 1982 American drama film directed by Alan J. Pakula, who adapted the novel of the same name by William Styron. Meryl Streep stars as Sophie, a Polish immigrant who shares a boarding house in Brooklyn with her tempestuous lover (Kevin Kline) and a young writer (Peter MacNicol).

Streep's performance was commended, and it won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film was nominated for Best Cinematography (Néstor Almendros), Costume Design (Albert Wolsky), Best Music (Marvin Hamlisch), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Alan J. Pakula).

British company ITC Entertainment produced the film, and Lew Grade was influential in bringing the novel to the big screen.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

In 1947 Stingo relocates to Brooklyn in order to write a novel and is befriended by Sophie Zawistowski, a Polish immigrant, and her emotionally unstable lover, Nathan Landau.

One evening, Stingo learns from Sophie that she was married but her husband and her father were killed in a German work camp and that she was interned in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Nathan is constantly jealous, and when he is in one of his violent mood swings he convinces himself that Sophie is unfaithful to him and he abuses and harasses her. There is a flashback showing Nathan with Sophie who is near death due to anemia shortly after her immigration to the U.S.

Sophie eventually reveals that her father was a Nazi sympathizer. Sophie's lover, Józef, who lived with his half-sister, Wanda, was a leader in the Resistance. Wanda tried to convince Sophie to translate some stolen Gestapo documents, but Sophie declined, fearing she might endanger her children. Two weeks later Józef was murdered by the Gestapo, and Sophie was arrested and sent to Auschwitz with her children.

Nathan tells Sophie and Stingo that the research he is doing at a pharmaceutical company is so groundbreaking that he will win the Nobel Prize. At a meeting with Nathan's physician brother, Stingo learns that Nathan is a paranoid schizophrenic and that all of the schools that Nathan had attended were "expensive funny farms." He has a job in the library of a pharmaceutical firm, which his brother got for him, and only occasionally assists with research.

After Nathan discharges a firearm over the telephone in a violent rage, Sophie and Stingo flee to a hotel. She reveals to him that, upon arrival at Auschwitz, she was forced to choose which one of her two children would be gassed and which would proceed to the labor camp. To avoid having both children killed, she chose her son, Jan, to be sent to the children's camp, and her daughter, Eva, to be sent to her death.

Sophie and Stingo make love, but while Stingo is sleeping, Sophie returns to Nathan. Sophie and Nathan commit suicide by taking cyanide. Stingo recites the poem "Ample Make This Bed" by Emily Dickinson—the American poet Sophie was fond of reading.

Stingo moves to a small farm his father recently inherited in southern Virginia to finish writing his novel.

Cast[edit]

Casting notes[edit]

William Styron wrote the novel with Ursula Andress in mind for the part of Sophie, but Meryl Streep was very determined to get the role. After she obtained a bootlegged copy of the script, she went after Alan J. Pakula and threw herself on the ground, begging him to give her the part.[3] Pakula’s first choice was Liv Ullmann for her ability to project the foreignness that would add to her appeal in the eyes of an impressionable, romantic Southerner. Streep's characterization was voted the third greatest movie performance of all time by Premiere Magazine.[4]

Reception[edit]

Sophie's Choice won the Academy Award for Best Actress (Meryl Streep) and was nominated for Best Cinematography (Néstor Almendros), Costume Design (Albert Wolsky), Best Music (Marvin Hamlisch), and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Alan J. Pakula). The film was also ranked #1 in the Roger Ebert's Top Ten List for 1982 and was listed on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition).

Awards and nominations[edit]

Academy Awards

BAFTA Awards

Golden Globe Awards

Writers Guild of America

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Box Office Information for Sophie's Choice. The Wrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Box Office Information for Sophie's Choice. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 1, 2013
  3. ^ Skow, John (1981-09-07). "What Makes Meryl Magic". Time. Retrieved 2007-03-28. 
  4. ^ Premiere Magazine: The 100 Greatest Performances of All Time. AMC's FilmSite. Retrieved February 27, 2013.

External links[edit]