By Robyn Reede
Santa Fe, NM (The Hollywood Times) 12/12/16 – Opening night at the Santa Fe Film Festival and brought us a beautiful film called Sophie & The Rising Sun.
In a small Southern US town in the autumn of 1941, lonely Sophie’s life is transformed when an Asian man arrives under mysterious circumstances. Their love affair becomes the lightning rod for long buried conflicts that erupt in bigotry and violence.
Directed & Screenplay by Maggie Greenwald and Starring Julianne Nicholson, Takashi Yamaguchi, Margo Martindale, Lorraine Toussaint, Diane Ladd, and Joel Murray. In a small Southern US town in the autumn of 1941, lonely Sophie’s life is transformed when an Asian man arrives under mysterious circumstances. Their love affair becomes the lightning rod for long buried conflicts that erupt in bigotry and violence.
Cinematically beautiful and the message of SOPHIE AND THE RISING SUN is very timely, as it discusses the heartbreaking treatment of Japanese Americans before and after World War II. In fact, the voices of Salty Creek’s most vicious, anti-Japanese citizen’s sound a lot like the scary message of a certain president elect; only instead of Japanese, the focus is now on Muslims.
Writer-director Maggie Greenwald says the story spoke to her because of the female characters in the film, as well as the “turmoil between women. The secrets and the intimacy and the way friendships change our lives was really of interest to me.”
As mentioned in Variety, Wolfgang Held’s photography, makes the most of willowy locations, and the chance to see Martindale stretch out in a role bigger than she usually gets. As Sophie, Nicholson might have strayed further from the self-conscious repression we’ve seen in Masters of Sex; were she a more lively character, we might not mind the movie’s suggestion that this is her story, with those who change her life mere supporting players. This being late 1941, the tale can only go in one direction: After Pearl Harbor, patriotism and xenophobia are easily confused.
Look for it in limited distribution in art houses across the US.