Sophie's Choice

AFI Rank: #91 (10th anniversary ranking)
Year Released: 1982
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Actors: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol, Rita Karin, Stephen D. Newman

Somehow Sophie's Choice didn't make it onto the first release of the AFI Top 100 listing - but they remedied that when they revoted ten years later. Sophie's Choice earned the #91 spot for the amazing acting of Meryl Streep, along with Kevin Kline's breakout performance with his first ever film role.

Meryl is stunning as a Polish woman who barely survived the German horrors of World War II. She saw nearly her entire family taken away and slain. It was only Kevin's intervention that kept her from dying in the US from the many illneseses she took on during the war years. So she is dearly devoted to him, even through his manic highs and violent lows.

Peter comes along as a barely-of-age writer from the South who wants to write the next American novel in the streets of Brooklyn. The three form a friendship, and over time Peter is able to learn more and more about what Meryl went through.

Have I mentioned Meryl is an incredible actress? She has so many emotions to portray over the course of the story - love, desperation, terror, hope, resolution. In each turn she appears perfectly in tune with her character. Her accent is pure music on the ears. She's shown in other movies that it's not just this Polish accent that she excels at, but she can do a wide range of characters.

It's stunning that there's even scenes of females talking with other females, which you pretty much NEVER get in any movie. Usually it's all about men with perhaps a woman or two sprinkled in for entertainment. Here one of the most powerful scenes is when Meryl is sitting talking with a young German girl, and moving past initial class differences to touch on a more human connection.

Certainly a movie that one could watch, and rewatch, and always find something new in the performances and meanings. From the twists in Kevin's moods to the subtle changes in Meryl's emotions, this movie is acting at its finest.

Well recommended.

Buy Sophie's Choice from

AFI Top 100 Film Listing
Male vs Female Actors in the AFI Top 100
The Bechdel Test in the AFI Top 100