Sophie’s Choice (1982)

Sophie's Choice Movie Review

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Sophie’s Choice Movie Review

Sophie’s Choice is a 1982 drama film directed by Alan J. Pakula and starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol. It is an expected, albeit mostly engaging movie.

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How could I have failed to have the most helpless crush on such a generous mind

and life-enlarging mentor.

Nathan was utterly, fatally glamorous

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Sophie's Choice Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

This a typical product of its time. In the eighties, they usually made dramas such as this. They are epic in length and they have extended dialogue sequences or employ flashbacks. This has every one of these things and that makes it dated and clichéd. The first half of the movie surprised me as it was genuinely engaging and it had such a good dialogue. But the second half ruined it for me as I found the flashbacks not only entirely unnecessary, but also for the most part either boring or prolonged.

I did like Sophie and her character is quite complex and definitely the best written part in the film. But Stingo and Nathan are both such clichéd characters and that bothered me. Nathan is so familiar, but he’s at least memorable. As for Stingo, the narration shouldn’t have been given to him as he is such a dull character. And I thoroughly disliked the choice for the two to become romantically involved in the third act as that really came out of nowhere and it would have been much better for them to have just stayed friends. That was very disappointing, I must admit.

The acting is admittedly powerful. Peter MacNicol is forgettable and is the weakest link here. Kevin Kline is quite solid on the other hand and has a great charisma. This is Meryl Streep’s vehicle and almost entirely her movie. This is probably her most famous performance that rightfully claimed her an Oscar and she really is terrific in it. She sold those emotional scenes and was genuinely sympathetic in the role.

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Sophie's Choice Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

The highlight of Sophie’s Choice is the title sequence as it is quite unforgettable and thankfully not prolonged which was a very professional choice. And I really enjoyed the time the three spent together even if it did lead to a lot detours and weird pacing issues. They had such a great friendship and I loved watching them all talk and have fun. The scene with the presents is so charming. But, as I said, it does lead to many pacing issues. The film is frankly uneventful in its first half and you have to ask if all of those scenes were necessary for the plot progression. Some of it should have been trimmed and the editing department failed miserably because of it.

Also, the second half with that flashback structure was very predictable and I was hoping they wouldn’t go there, but they did and I was so disappointed. The entire storyline is very tired which is why the first half in the present and featuring just dialogues and character interactions is much better. The dialogue is really good and I really enjoyed the score as it was quite moving at times. The film is too melodramatic, but rarely truly emotional or hard-hitting. The only truly devastating scene is naturally the choice sequence, but the other parts weren’t as investing. And its ending I did like, but I still thought it could have been better done. The tone is all over the place as the first half is sort of a charming drama with comedic elements whereas the second half is dark and serious. Yes, it is charming at times, but the jarring shift in tone is evident.

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Sophie's Choice Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Sophie’s Choice is a solid movie. Way too clichéd to be enjoyed more, but I still mostly enjoyed it. It did deserve its Best Actress Oscar and the technical nominations are much deserved as the film definitely does look good and is very well scored. In the end, it is a solid movie, but still too troublesome and typical.

Sophie’s Choice is a solid movie. It does have its unforgettable as well as charming scenes, Meryl Streep’s performance is admittedly great, the score is very good and moving and the first half is engaging with fine dialogue and great character interactions, but the second half ruined it for me as it went with the clichéd flashback structure, the suddenly dark and serious approach lead to a jarring shift in tone and the film is too long and sometimes dull. It is perfectly fine, but far from great as it is a typical product of its time.

My Rating – 3.5

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Posted in 1082, 1980s, Drama, Epic, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , .

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