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Meryl Streep as Sophie Zawistowski: 5 Quotes About Iconic Role

By    |   Tuesday, 05 May 2015 07:02 PM

Meryl Streep was well on her way to establishing herself as an acting powerhouse by the time the role as Sophie Zawistowski in "Sophie's Choice" came along. However, her turn as the Holocaust-surviving Polish immigrant with an emotionally unstable lover put Hollywood and the world on notice that she was going to be a force within the industry for many years to come.

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The 1982 film "Sophie's Choice," based on the novel of the same name by William Styron and starring Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol alongside Streep, earned five Academy Awards, with Streep winning her first Best Actress award. She also took the Golden Globes' Best Actress: Drama award as well.

Here are five quotes about Streep's performance in "Sophie's Choice":

1. Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, film critic Roger Ebert, who gave the film four out of four stars, felt that Streep's performance was a world away from prior ones she had given. "Meryl Streep is a wonder as Sophie. She does not quite look or sound or feel like the Meryl Streep we have seen before in 'The Deer Hunter' or 'Manhattan' or 'The French Lieutenant's Woman.' There is something juicier about her this time; she is merrier and sexier, more playful and cheerful in the scenes before she begins to tell Stingo the truth about her past."

2. Ebert also raved about the range of emotions Streep delivered during her performance. "There is hardly an emotion that Streep doesn't touch in this movie, and yet we're never aware of her straining. This is one of the most astonishing and yet one of the most unaffected and natural performances I can imagine."

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3. Given the touchy subject matter, The New York Times film critic Janet Maslin applauded Streep's efforts to humanize the tortured Polish immigrant. “Miss Streep accomplishes the near-impossible, presenting Sophie in believably human terms without losing the scale of Mr. Styron's invention.”

4. David Sterritt of the Christian Science Monitor marveled at how easily Streep portrayed all aspects of Sophie's character, from her happiest moments to the darkest of days: "Meryl Streep gives her deepest and fullest screen portrayal to date, carrying the complicated Sophie from sunny Brooklyn afternoons to the reeking mud fields of Auschwitz."

5. The Dissolve's Keith Phipps agreed: "The way Streep inhabits Sophie, and brings her history to life whether she’s explicitly talking about the past or carrying herself across the room with wounded grace, can’t help but make parts of the rest of the film seem smaller by comparison."

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Meryl Streep was well on her way to establishing herself as an acting powerhouse by the time the role as Sophie Zawistowski in "Sophie's Choice" came along.
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Tuesday, 05 May 2015 07:02 PM
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