East And South (Movie Thoughts: Sophie And The Rising Sun)

sophie-and-the-rising-sunThe year is 1941, and a Japanese man – wounded and bloodied – turns up in the South, specifically Salty Creek, South Carolina. I mean, in modern day, he probably won’t be welcome in South Carolina so you can just imagine what he had to deal with then. Maggie Greenwald directs ‘Sophie And The Rising Sun,’ which is based on Augusta Trobaugh’s 2001 novel.

Greenwald directs with a very light touch, even as the film deals with very heavy issues. That Japanese man, played by Takashi Yamaguchi gets settled in the house of Miss Anne, played magnificently by Margo Martindale. Add more complications to the mix by him falling in love with Sophie (Julianne Nicholson) and aggravated by meddling racist neighbour, played by Diane Ladd, and you can kind of sense where the film is going.  I have to admit I felt kind of bored by the film, or perhaps I just did not connect with it. I would probably like the book more, as I am sure the film omitted various details. I thought the issues of prejudice against Japanese Americans living in the United States during the war was handled better by the Broadway musical ‘Allegiance,’ and the Japanese Internment sight even makes an appearance here. It’s a fine and timely take to tell people, especially with what is happening in the US nowadays.

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