Sophie's Choice is a handsome, doggedly faithful and astoundingly tedious adaptation of William Styron's best-seller.

Sophie’s Choice is a handsome, doggedly faithful and astoundingly tedious adaptation of William Styron’s best-seller.

Set in 1947, tale has young aspiring writer Stingo (Peter MacNicol), a southern lad, taking a room in a comfortable house in which also dwell Sophie (Meryl Streep), a Polish former Catholic, and her exuberant, changeable, Jewish lover, Nathan Landau (Kevin Kline). Three become best of friends, although at times Nathan turns on the other two, leaving Stingo to console Sophie and hear some of her painful confessions about her pre-war life and incarceration by the Nazis.

Ever so slowly, it comes clear that Sophie has lied about many things, notably her father. After 90 minutes, film flips into a half-hour, subtitled, sepiatoned flashback to portray Sophie’s tenure as secretary to the commanding officer at Auschwitz.

Streep, Kline and MacNicol all give it a good shot individually, but they never coalesce into the close, warm trio called for by the story.

1982: Best Actress (Meryl Streep)

Nominations: Best Screenplay Adaptation, Cinematography, Costume Design, Original Score

Sophie's Choice

Production

ITC. Director Alan J. Pakula; Producer Alan J. Pakula, Keith Barish; Screenplay Alan J. Pakula; Camera Nestor Almendros; Editor Evan Lottman; Music Marvin Hamlisch; Art Director George Jenkins

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1982. Running time: 157 MIN.

With

Meryl Streep Kevin Kline Peter MacNicol Rita Karin Stephen D. Newman Josh Mostel
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