on 14 May 2006
Sophie Scholl the last days is an excellent film that tells a story little known outside Germany. Sophie and her brother are brilliantly portrayed. What is striking is how they both deal with arrest, interogation and the prospect of execution with such admirable bravery.The courtroom scene brings home the harsh and detached views the Nazis had. The total lack of compassion and human emotion is very evident as Fiesler spouts his Nazi rhetoric. The film is another brilliant example of German directors coming to terms with thier country's past.
Whilst slightly harrowing and very emotional, this film leaves a definate imprint in your mind, reminding you how even in darkness, some had the will to shine out for others.
on 29 November 2006
Devastating and heart-breaking this film of the true story of Sophie Scholl is indeed a testament to the power of free speech and fearless dedication to a cause and the bravery of one girl and her brother. This film is so simple yet so affecting and features an overwhelming understated performance by young German actress Julia Jentsch as the doomed Sophie.
Director Marc Rothemund and screenwriter Fred Breinersdorfer based this film on new interviews with friends and relatives and the never-before-released records of Scholl's Gestapo interrogation. But it is Jentsch's powerful portrayal of the willful Sophie that effectively anchors this film and in turn gives it so much power.
Certainly student dissent is not something that we think of in Nazi Germany, but dissent they did. Set in 1943 Munich Sophie Scholl is about a group of single-minded university students and some other members of what was called the White Rose, who secretly write, print and distribute leaflets condemning the war, which they rightly predict will bring their nation to its knees Of course, these kids are taking a big risk, and they do so at a horrible price.
While furtively placing leaflets outside classrooms at the University of Munich, the activists are spotted by a janitor who turns them in. Soon Sophie (Julia Jentsch), brother Hans (Fabian Hinrichs) and friend Christoph (Florian Stetter) face the Gestapo, a harsh judge, a trial that is so biased its a joke and finally, the threat of quick execution.
Whilst obviously their fate is no secret, the impact of the film comes from the steady interrogation that takes place between Sophie and her inquisitor - criminologist Robert Mohr (Alexander Held) who, while loyal to Nazism, understands and even respects its refutation by a young woman he considers a misguided idealist.
Instead of torturing her, he argues with her, offering a way out during powerful, sustained scenes of bitterly divided discourse. Through it all, Jentsch is a beacon of bravery and resolve in the darkness of a totalitarian machine and we certainly get glimpses of what makes Jentsch's performance so strong. Both fear and defiant bravery live simultaneously on Scholl's face; we can see her strength as well as her terror, her resolve as well as her qualms.
At first, Sophie thinks she's got away with it and then she hasn't, then she shares a cell with a fellow inmate who works for the Nazis. But as the fascist machine beats her into a corner, we see a girl who will not sell her convictions out, and will go to her death believing that what she feels - and even predicts - is right.
The incredible power of this film actually come ion the quieter moments as when Sophie shares a quick cigarette with her colleagues, when she prays to a higher power, spends tender moments with her devastated parents or stares longingly at sun-kissed clouds through the bars of her cell.
There's nothing gimmicky or melodramatic or over-blown about this movie, everything is just so beautifully layered and with Rothemund's deft camerawork never straying far from Sophie's expressive face, especially in the second half of the movie. Somehow, her very ordinariness lends the film an honesty that renders her fate all the more devastating.
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days is a noble effort to tell of one of the bleakest periods in human history, where this regime slaughtered millions of innocent and talented people. For those of us with a social conscience and who are interested in viewing one of the great moments of history, this film of this brave and resolute tragic girl is compulsory viewing. Mike Leonard November 06.
This is without doubt an excellent film, but it is hard to watch. Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans work covertly against the Nazis, posting out anti-Nazi leaflets, but then he makes the mistake of distributing them personally at the University, and Sophie helps. They are seen and caught, and the bulk of the film focuses on her imprisonment, interrogation and trial. She shows unswerving courage and great skill in arguing her case - that freedom of speech should be allowed and that the state is the criminal, not she - but, of course, to no avail, except perhaps that she impresses her interrogator, a man called Mohr who has a son about her age, and whose arguments against what she says become weaker and weaker as the interrogation continues ; the scenes with Mohr are compelling. But the end is inevitable, the show trial a farce, and she, her brother and a colleague meet their deaths by guillotine. The film ends with stills of the real-life Sophie herself and Hans. The script, acting and direction are entirely appropriate and effective, which makes the film the more powerful. It is a story of the sacrifice of the praiseworthily innocent and because it is true, and the film represents it so convincingly, hard to watch ; but very good nonetheless.
on 16 January 2007
Well-acted and factually accurate, this film is an excellent reflection of Sophie Scholl's last days and is a must-see for any student of German. Some viewers will prefer it to be a little less documentary-like and prosaic, but I dislike big-budget films that descend into schmalz so I was engaged throughout; it tells it as it was, no bells and whistles. First rate.
on 27 November 2006
This film about Sophie Scholl, a member of a student group that dared to stand up to the Nazis, is a film that will certainly move you. Wonderfully acted and filmed, this film is real, not Hollywood. You will never forget how these young people stood up for what was right and you will ask yourself whether you could do the same. This film is one (and there are not many I would say this about) that you cannot miss seeing.
on 7 September 2006
One of the reasons I decided to rent and watch this film (which I recently purchased) was I wanted to understand why Germany of 60 years ago, populated by ordinary people just like you and I, could have allowed events to take place without any form of resistance.
I am not naive enough to assume it is an easy thing to do, once a goverment is in position, and the propaganda machines roll! Our society today does not seem to have changed so much from back then.
I cried when this film ended. I don't often cry. I cried because one person, intelligent, warm, and responsible, did attempt a sane and sober protest. This story is so real. It challenges Hollywood-made movies with its under-stated action through dialogue rather than blood and bullets.
There are no mass shootings. Dialogue is threatening only because of rule and consequence. If a young and brave person's real journey in our world, during a terrible moment in global history, can be recorded and accurately portrayed... then this is it.
If you care about people and their real expeience, if you wish to see true defiance of truth and reason prevail over madness and chaos, then you should watch this movie.
Probably there were many people like Sophie, but she stands as their ambassador, and with knowledge of her actions, an entire stereo-typical thought can be removed. The german people... no... all of humanity... is redeemed by the actions of this one extremely courageous young woman.
See it if you want to believe truth can prevail in a world fast becoming a greater illusion and deception. It should give you strength to remain true too.
on 24 October 2006
I am not going to pretend I know anything about Sophie Scholl, the White Rose movement or the director or any of the actors in the film for that matter. However this is a brilliantly controlled and intelligent film, portraying a young woman of remarkable bravery caught up in the machinations of a regime only just aware of its imminent destruction. A dialogue for the most part between Sophie and her interrogator, this film slowly and steadily builds to an almost unbearable tension before the inevitable conviction and execution. The short show trial is one of the best pieces of cinema I have ever seen.
on 18 February 2006
I've seen this in the original German. It's an inspiring portrait of a courageous girl, part of the "White Rose" resistance group, who was prepared to oppose the Nazi regime and die for it. Based on the recently-discovered records of her interrogation, it is completely devoid of the sentiment that a US maker would load into it. The actors are all superb, Julia Jentsch especially, but equal honours also go to the guy who plays her Gestapo interrogator, a fanatical Nazi, yet a not unkind man who tries to spare her the inevitable consequences of her actions. The portrayal of Hitler's hanging judge "Raving Roland" Freisler is also brilliant.
Do not miss this film; you owe it to yourself - and you will leave it, wishing you could be that courageous and sad that you can't.
on 28 March 2012
This Movie gives an insight to a side of Germany during Hitlers war in Europe. What makes this movie really stand out is the makers abillity to give vision to a society so deep in its own structure of propaganda denial and unquestionable loyalty to Adolf Hitlers madness. National Socialist Nazi Germany was not one that thought for itself but indivitdual after individual learned to speak only the words spurted out by Nazi propaganda and actual destortion of of truth to the point that so many became mindless and unable to see anything outside Nazi structures. This movie gives vision in how some Germans still retained the need to hold to truth and humanitarian understanding in a country fast sinking to the depths of its own self created hell. It shows the terrible but very real price these young idealists had to pay in order to hold true to themselves and what they knew to be just and truth. However speaking out against The National Socialist in this terrible time was nothing short of a death sentaince for any bold enough to make the attempt. If there is any film you will want to watch that can give true historical insight to this world this is it.
on 7 November 2007
I can't add anything futher to the comments already posted as this film is outstanding in every way. One thought - while I realise that the film's title 'Sophie Scholl' and its subtitle 'The Final Days' make its content plain, it might have been interesting to have a little background context such as that found in the equally excellent 'The White Rose' (1982) starring Lena Stolze. This would have given uninitiated viewers more background on what these brave kids were actually up to, and also developed more the characters of Willi Graf and Christoph Probst, who do not figure much in the newer film, or fellow White Rose members Alexander Schmorell and Professor Kurt Huber, who are not featured at all. But one can never be critical when a vital story such as this is retold, and retold so well as it is here. An essential document that remains burned into the memory.