Reviewed by: Jeremy Landes
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
What does God say? Answer
Persecuted church—Why and how should we pray for suffering Christians? Answer
|Featuring:||Julia Jentsch, Alexander Held, Andre Hennicke, Fabian Hinrichs, Gerald Alexander Held|
|Producer:||Fred Breinersdorfer, Sven Burgemeister, Ulrich Herrmann, Jochen Kölsch, Christoph Müller, Bettina Reitz, Marc Rothemund, Andreas Schreitmüller, Hubert von Spreti|
“Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” tells the true story of a 21-year-old German woman who, in 1943, dared to rebel against her Nazi-led government and paid the ultimate price. If you feel that last sentence just ruined the whole movie for you, sorry—but the title leaves little room for doubt, and you’re best warned now that the ending will be anything but happy. What’s extraordinary and worth seeing about this film is that we are allowed to watch someone so full of life challenging injustice and willing to embrace her own death. Sophie is able to make this decision with great courage because of her firm faith in Jesus Christ and the promise of resurrection.
Sophie is portrayed by actress Julia Jentsch not as a saint. She loves the popular music of her day, enjoys an occasional cigarette, and is not above lying repeatedly to her captors in order to save herself and protect her friends. She’s engaged to be married, and suicide is not on her agenda. In fact, the film raises several moral questions as Sophie seeks to escape the death penalty for passing out anti-Hitler/anti-war flyers around her university. Such as, “Is there an appropriate time to disobey the law?” and “Would telling the truth cause more harm than good when corrupt men are seeking to do more evil?” Sophie chooses to lay all the blame upon herself and her brother (who confesses first) even though she is promised a lighter sentence if she names the others devoted to their cause.
While watching, I kept asking myself, “What would I do if I was being asked to turn in my friends or my family for doing what I believe is right?” “Would I lie to save myself and others?” “Sophie Scholl” does not provide any easy answers. When all hope is lost for escape, Sophie begins to ask her own questions. She defends her flyer distribution and explains why God’s justice, the protection of innocent life, and one’s personal conscience must supersede when governments use their power unjustly. You may feel the urge to stand up and cheer as you watch her persecutors becoming increasingly uneasy while listening to the truth of her arguments. The director of this film is an atheist, but he decided to use the recently-released transcripts of Sophie’s defense, despite he repeated references to God.
Just hours after Sophie’s confession and a ridiculous, but historically-accurate courtroom trial, she and her brother are dead, and most of the flyers have been collected and destroyed. Some may ask, “Was it worth it?” and “Did their deaths really accomplish anything?”
The answer may only be answered through future generations. As people hear Sophie’s story, perhaps more men and women of great faith will find the strength to stand up on behalf of the helpless and receive punishments they don’t deserve—for the sake of Jesus who went to the cross before them, saying, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
“Sophie Scholl” is not an easy movie to sit through. You may find yourself on the verge of tears throughout much of it, and it may provoke you to anger as well. It’s a German film, with English subtitles, and I don’t recall any bad language, sexual innuendo, or on-screen violence. There is a powerful scene of off-screen violence, which may shock you and any kids who attend, as it has haunted me for the last few days. Proceed with caution.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.