Sophie's Choice

Rated R 157 minutes

Alan Pakula has re-created the powerful moments of William Styron's novel, but he hasn't made a film: this 1982 drama is completely devoid of cinematic interest, adopting instead a tiresome theatrical aesthetic in which showy monologues are filmed in interminable, usually ill-chosen long takes. Surprisingly for Pakula, the directorial choices throughout are banal and conservative: once again we are given a vision of Auschwitz as a hellish other world, safely removed in time, space, and color intensity from our own. Meryl Streep, in a cloud of technique, is completely opaque as the charismatic camp survivor, though Peter MacNicol is refreshingly honest as the young southern writer who falls under her spell. With Kevin Kline.

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