‘Tis when we are threatened by powers that be
That mettle is measured and morals are key.
‘Tis easy conceding to dangerous ifs
When everyone speeds toward the same social cliffs.
‘Tis harder to risk reputation and friend
For ethics that many refuse to defend.
‘Tis faith we must have in a world full of spite
To recognize wrong when it persecutes right.
MPAA rating: PG
Language: German (with English subtitles)
One of the key motivators behind the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler was to prove to the world that not everyone was willing to submit to his oppressive regime. While those involved with Valkyrie were high-ranking officers, the same commitment applied to many German civilians as well, such as the White Rose, the group of students who made their clandestine defiance known through anti-Nazi graffiti and leaflets. An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, Sophie Scholl – The Final Days is about one of the White Rose’s most famous members, focusing on the resistance movement not in practice but in ideals.
Except for a tense scene of Sophie and her brother distributing the White Rose’s illegal literature, the majority of the film is concerned with Sophie Scholl’s imprisonment and trial and how she responded to the Nazis’ threats and slander. As portrayed by Julia Jentsch, Scholl is a model saint, praying for strength, enduring the knowledge of her fate with faith and patience, and answering her accusers with a calm confidence of spirit. While she denies her involvement at first, the interrogation points clearly at her guilt, and she refuses to show remorse for her support of free speech and all she knows to be right. One especially potent exchange with her interrogator condemns the crimes and standards of the Nazi movement so powerfully that even her opponent seems moved by her convictions, right before an act that implicates him as another Pontius Pilate sending an innocent to death.
A defense of free speech and conscience rights, Sophie Scholl – The Final Days is heavy with dialogue but rich in moral fortitude and quiet courage. The final scenes are restrained yet forceful, and every actor is on point, especially Jentsch as Sophie and Fabian Hinrichs as her brother Hans. Sophie and her fellow prisoners clearly accept their fate with trepidation, but history has proven them as heroes and martyrs.
Best line: (Sophie) “Trucks came to pick up the children at the mental hospital. The other children asked where they were going. ‘They’re going to heaven,’ said the nurses. So the children got on the truck singing. You think I wasn’t raised right, because I felt pity for them?”
© 2016 S.G. Liput
435 Followers and Counting