Set primarily in 1947 Brooklyn, with flashbacks that take place in Poland up to ten years prior. The oddly-named Stingo (Peter MacNicol) is an earnest and sensitive 22-year old from the South. He has come to New York to write The Great American Novel on (presumably) his father’s money. Stingo is immediately adopted by his eccentric upstairs neighbors, Nathan (Kevin Kline) and Sophie (Meryl Streep). When on good behavior, Nathan is gregarious, generous, brilliant, and charming. But he has an abusive dark side, which increasingly shows itself as this 150m film plods along. Sophie is a thirty-something Auschwitz survivor, and is committed to her lover despite his mercurial behavior.
Eventually, Stingo decides to rescue the attractive Sophie by fleeing with her to a conveniently recently inherited family farm. Sophie tries to dissuade him of this plan by revealing horrific weepy excerpts of her extermination camp days, which only makes Stingo want her more. —Filmsgraded.com
Renowned for guiding actors to the Oscars and, as Robert Redford put it, bringing “sensitivity and intellect to seemingly intractable subjects,” Alan J. Pakula built a successful career that was cut short by his death in a car accident in 1998. With his restrained, thoughtful filmmaking style, Pakula weathered industry upheavals and audience tastes that often preferred anything but intelligent subtlety, leaving a legacy that includes All the President’s Men (1976).
Born and raised in New York, Pakula dabbled in high school theater, but he didn’t consider a show business career until he took a summer job at Leland Hayward’s talent agency. Pakula majored in drama at Yale, graduating in 1948. While working at Warner Bros. in 1949, Pakula directed a Los Angeles stage production of Antigone that caught producer Don Hartman’s eye. Hartman got Pakula a job reading scripts at MGM in 1950, and took Pakula with him to Paramount in 1951, where Pakula eventually got to produce his first… read more
It goes without saying that Meryl Streep gives a great performance, but as I cataloged the annoyances of this one—achingly emphatic music cues, overwritten voiceover for an underwritten character, period detail done in unimaginative "literary" realism—I realized that all of my least favorite things about Oscar season have been with us for 30 years. Doesn't leave me optimistic for the next 30. 3 out of 5 stars.
That description above reads like a lot of insipid crap if you've actually watched the movie