Directed by Marc Rothemund, starring Julia Jentsch, Fabian Hinrichs, Gerald Alexander Held, Johanna Gastdorf, André Hennicke and Florian Stetter.
A national hero in Germany, Sophie Scholl was a 21-year-old student executed in 1943 for distributing anti-Hitler leaflets as part of the White Rose resistance group. The winner of numerous awards in Germany, including Best Director and Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival, Marc Rothemund's film will humble those unfamiliar with Scholl's story and also serves as a fascinating companion piece to 'Downfall'.
Along with her brother Hans (Hinrichs), Sophie Scholl (Jentsch, last seen on Irish cinema screens in 'The Edukators') decides to distribute anti-war leaflets to students at Munich University as part of their work with the White Rose. Their mission seems to go to plan, but seeing that they have some leaflets left, the siblings decide to put them on the top floor of the university building. And it is that decision to turn back which leads to their capture. Stopped by a janitor, they are then handed over to the Gestapo, with Sophie facing questioning by criminologist Robert Mohr (Held). Mohr wants Sophie to give up her accomplices but she refuses, telling him that she would do the same again. They argue about her actions, but her fate has been already decided.
Harrowing and uplifting all at once, Rothemund's film captivates from the first moment Jentsch appears on screen and neither wastes time on superfluous scenes or rushes the story of the last six days of Sophie Scholl's life. Jentsch – who bears a striking resemblance to photos of Scholl – delivers a low-key performance which is both a superb tribute to the 21-year-old's courage and a powerful way of educating future generations about the importance of going against the grain. Scholl's quiet intensity and dignity in the face of the terror she faced is deftly translated to the screen in the scenes involving Jentsch and onscreen inquisitor Held, the film effectively turning into a play as the two face each other over a table with the battle-lines drawn between 'the law' and conscience.
While December usually yields little outside of blockbusters, this is one film that deserves your time amidst the rush.