By Katherine Hughes

I was disappointed in the “Sophie Scholl: The Last Days.” The story of the White Rose Society is, of course, very powerful, but this movie did not do it justice.

Particularly, these days, when starting to work on a documentary about Dr. Dhafir’s case, I’m thinking very much about how stories are told – my eye is now also on how information is presented and what part the visual imagery plays.

I felt that there was something missing from this film. It didn’t have any lead up to what happened and, therefore, no context: the context was assumed as Sophie and her brother were arrested very early in the movie. The actors were excellent, particularly the young woman who played Sophie, but the movie did not support these excellent performances.

Instead of building up tension, by covering the distribution of the earlier leaflets, graffiti on the wall, etc., the movie sought to do this with very loud mood music that was overpowering and no substitute for telling the story. The movie also did not address the context of Nazi Germany, assuming the viewer would know that context.

I read the review below before going to the movie and did not give it much credence, but after seeing the movie, I had a similar reaction myself. And I think the response of the French teenagers may well have been because they had no context:

“A friend who is also a subscriber to my art theatre recommended this film. I found it disappointing: trite, music that foreshadowed all the action, and too many long poignant look-exchanges between the brother and sister. There was a group of 30 French teenagers in the theatre and by their snickers and wise cracks I determined that they shared my opinion. Much ado about nothing in this film.”


The movie also did not make clear how many people Sophie and her brother were protecting; this information did not come until the final credits when a list of those executed, those imprisoned, and those who suffered other hardships was given.

The movie was very civilized in how Sophie was treated. I found this a bit unbelievable, although it may, in fact, have been the case. (I know it’s true that her interrogator had a child of a similar age and was feeling “fatherly” towards her, and that the guards, against the rules, let her say goodbye to her brother.) Perhaps it is letting us know that what was done in Nazi Germany was done, in certain arenas, in a very civilized way.

Also, seeing “Sophie Scholl” just after having seen “The Lives of Others,” which was excellently done (on a similar topic), highlighted the inadequacies of the “Sophie Scholl” movie.

I don’t recommend the film. I got as much out of a one-page summary that I read the night before seeing the film as I got out of the film.

See also this review.