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Sophie's Choice

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Original title
Sophie's Choice
Running time
157 min.
United States United States
ITC. Distributor: Universal Pictures
Drama. Romance | Holocaust. 1940s
The year is 1947. Aspiring southern author Stingo (Peter MacNicol) heads to New York to seek his fortune. Moving into a dingy Brooklyn boarding house, Stingo strikes up a friendship with research chemist Nathan Landau (Kevin Kline) and Nathan's girlfriend, Polish refugee Sophie Zawistowska (Oscar-winner Meryl Streep). There is something unsettling about the relationship; Nathan is subject to violent mood swings, while Sophie seems to be harboring a horrible secret. Stingo soons learns that both Nathan and Sophie are strangers to truth; the audience is likewise led down several garden paths by a series of sepia-toned flashbacks, depicting Sophie's ordeal in a wartime concentration camp. The scene in which we discover the facts behind Sophie's "choice" is a gut-wrenching one; it might have been even more powerful had not the film taken so long to get there. It is betraying nothing to reveal that the character of Stingo is the alter ego of William Styron, upon whose best-selling novel the film was based. The film is rated R, due in great part to a disposable scene wherein Stingo tries to put the make on a "liberated" female intellectual. (Hal Erickson: All Movie Guide)
1982: Oscar: Best Actress (Meryl Streep). 5 Nominations
1982: Golden Globes: Best Actress - Drama (Meryl Streep). 3 Nominations
1983: BAFTA Awards: Nom. for Best Actress (Streep) & Most Outstanding Newcomer to Film (Kline)
1982: New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actress (Streep) & Best Cinematography
1982: Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Actress (Meryl Streep)
1982: Writers Guild of America (WGA): Nominated for Best Adapted Drama Screenplay
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User history
Sophie's Choice
Alan J. Pakula