Sofie is an ordinary Norwegian girl. One day she recieves a video tape on which a certain Alberto Knox talks directly to her from ancient Greece. They then start to meet at different ...
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Sofie is an ordinary Norwegian girl. One day she recieves a video tape on which a certain Alberto Knox talks directly to her from ancient Greece. They then start to meet at different occasions and throughout the film, Alberto takes Sofie on an odyssey of the history of philosophy, from ancient Greece, over the Roman empire, the Middle ages, the renaissance, the enlightenment, the big revolutions and up to today. Throughout this journey, they start to realise that they are only fictions of a story writer's imagination and start conceiving a plan for escaping into reality.Written by
Anders E Lundin
Sophie's World is such a heavy handed philosophical discourse that it comes off almost more like an educational video than a film. It has a simple, made-for-TV feel, probably just because of the way it was filmed, but that seems to fit with the theme of a young girl exploring the mysteries of the universe. She is your everyday Norwegian school girl type, except that she has been receiving mysterious notes in her mail box which force her to re- analyze everything she thought she knew about reality, the world, and even who she is. She is inspired by great thinkers.
Sophie is presented as a girl with more going on in her mind than her classmates (which are mostly represented by the astonishingly stupid boys that pop up every once in a while), which may be why she was "chosen" to receive the mysterious notes. She begins to believe that there has to be more to her than just a name and a body, but she gets no help when she talks to her mother, who is a realist and doesn't really believe in or have time for all that philosophical nonsense. Sophie's favorite show is called The Mystery Hour, so already her mind is eager to have something to work on.
Through a variety of ways, Sophie finds herself looking back in time to the time of Socrates and Plato, when the powers that be were sadly trying to eradicate all critical thought. There is a frightening scene where Socrates, possibly the greatest thinker of all time, is forced to drink poison, just before which he says, "It's easy to escape death, you just run away. It's much harder to escape wickedness" This is absolutely true, and it's sad to think that that was not the only time independent thought was so cruelly oppressed. It still happens today.
The time travel itself is pretty cheesy, but it's just something that the viewer has to understand as taking place it's not as important as what is found after it's done. This is not, after all, a time travel movie. It's not even really science fiction. It's Philosophical Criticism 101. And by the way, I love the scene where Sophie and her pink haired friend are watching a shockingly bad American movie. Clearly the movie is so awful because it was just filmed to be put in this one, but I hope that's not a subconscious comment on the quality of American film!
And like all good philosophy courses, I'm not really sure what to think about a lot of the movie. My mind was full of questions after I watched it, although I should mention that some of the questions that the movie calls attention to are things that I've wondered about many times before, but usually only in passing. I've wondered, for example, what other person looks more like me than anyone else. If you could somehow search through every person who has ever lived, there will be one person who looks more like you than anyone else, and I'm sure the resemblance would be astonishing. There is a scene with a mirror that suggests that it is a completely different person looking back.
Overall, the movie encourages philosophical thought, urging you to remember that it is through philosophy that we will find the answers to our questions about the basic human condition. The movie asserts that we are, in fact, in control, and that things don't 'just happen.' Things happen because someone makes them happen. The future is determined by the present.
It's ironic that this movie should teach us that people spend so much time being entertained that, ultimately, we end up acting out our own lives, and the line between truth and fiction becomes more and more blurred, which eventually diminishes freedom of thought. The movie tells us that oppression of free thought led to the execution of Socrates, one of the world's great thinkers, which is a massive indictment of totalitarianism. Ironic that the movie should use film as the medium to deliver the message the too much entertainment dulls free thought.
But then again, as they say, the medium IS the message
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