Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -1

This most unusual film about a Jewish family in Denmark during the 1800's will be enjoyed by those who appreciate beautiful photography and character studies. Sofie (Karen-Lise Mynster), the only child of Semmy and Frederikke Phillipsen (Erland Josephson and Ghita Norby), is 29 years old and almost suffocated by her doting parents and old maid aunts. She longs for romance and her own family. Her mother and father are so inseparable they are almost comical as they giggle at each other like two young lovers. Except for a brief romantic encounter with an artist Sofie meets at a dinner party, her only male acquaintance is a distant cousin, Jonah. When Jonah proposes, her parents agree he would be a suitable husband for Sofie, much to Sofie's disappointment. The Phillipsens mistakenly assume that their daughter will marry and live happily ever after, just as they did. Unhappily married, the young Jewish woman is transformed from a loving daughter into a bitter wife. The only bright spot in her life is her son, Aron. Although she adores him, Sofie vows to allow him to be independent instead of trapped in the religious and family traditions that stifled her. Two-and-a-half hours long, this bittersweet story with English subtitles will move much too slowly for audiences used to non-stop action and slapstick comedy.

The Phillipsen's devotion to God and family is genuine. Especially moving is the Bar Mitzvah service for young Aron and the family celebration afterwards. The gentle, loving relationship between Sofie's son and his grandfather is heartwarming as well. Refreshing is the absence of any offensive language except for one exclamatory profanity. Sofie refuses to become involved with the painter because he is not Jewish. However, adultery is implied when Sofie and her husband's brother turn to each other for emotional support. One very dramatic scene of Sofie pushing away her husband contains the only hint of violence, which is certainly not gratuitous. In that same scene, however, full female frontal nudity occurs. Other nudity is shown briefly in paintings. Our slightly negative rating is for the nudity. A quality art film, SOFIE's adult subject matter makes it unsuitable for children.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Arrow Releasing, 666 5th Ave., NY, NY 10103

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Once - Exclamatory
Violence: Once - Mild (pushing and shoving)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Few (2) times (nudes in paintings; woman shown full frontal)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (passionate embrace with fondling; nude woman runs into arms of her lover)
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time:
Intended Audience:

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