June 1, 2006

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Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (NR)
Students in 1943 Munich urge their fellow Germans to rise up against the Nazis in Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, an Oscar nominee for best foreign film.

The story does very much focus on the final days of Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch), a student in Munich who believes that the war and the current German regime are morally wrong and must be stopped. Also part of the cause are her brother Hans (Fabian Hinrichs) and a small group of friends including Christopher Probst (Florian Stetter). We know the most about these three because they are the ones who, not too far into the movie, are caught by the Nazis for distributing an anti-Hitler leaflet at the university. The movie primarily follows Sophie as she is interrogated several times, at first telling a story which almost gets her out of trouble and eventually calmly, but defiantly admitting her part in the resistance.

For a movie about the struggle against fascism, Sophie Scholl is amazingly quiet and understated. In the interrogation, we see a bit of the unbending morality that makes Sophie act as she does, even when she knows it will likely cost her her life. She voices a variety of reasons that she feels she must push her fellow students to rise up against the government but the main one seems to be that overthrowing the government is the only way that her generation can truly rejoin the international community. This idea that a country can only come back from such a terrible deviation from acceptable behavior as a nation by righting itself is perhaps the most interesting part of the many discussions of philosophy and morality that make up most of the film’s dialogue.

In addition to this lofty stuff, Sophie Scholl succeeds at being a tense, fear-soaked film with actors who do an excellent job of capturing the fear and sorrow of their situation. B+


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