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‘Sophie and the Rising Sun’ at Music Hall

Julianne Nicholson and Takashi Yamaguchi play star-crossed lovers in “Sophie and the Rising Sun.” (Monterey Media)

“Sophie and the Rising Sun,” an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, is now playing at Laemmle’s Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, through Thursday, Feb. 2.

Set in the autumn of 1941 in Salty Creek, a willowy fishing village in South Carolina, Maggie Greenwald’s film tells the compelling story of two interracial lovers — Sophie Willis, an artist who also fishes and sells crabs to the townsfolk, the other an Asian gentleman, Grover Ohta — swept up in the tides of history.

Takashi Yamaguchi as Mr. Ohta. (Monterey Media)

As World War II rages in Europe, Mr. Ohta appears in the town badly beaten and under mysterious circumstances. Sophie, a native of Salty Creek, quickly becomes transfixed by Mr. Ohta and a friendship born of their mutual love of art blossoms into a delicate and forbidden courtship.

As their secret relationship evolves. the war escalates tragically. And when Pearl Harbor is bombed, a surge of misguided patriotism, bigotry and violence sweeps through the town, threatening Mr. Ohta’s life. A trio of women, each with her own secrets — Sophie, along with the town matriarch and her housekeeper — rejects law and propriety, risking their lives with their actions.

Adapted by Greenwald from the novel of the same name by Augusta Trobaugh, the film stars Independent Spirit Award and SAG Award nominee Julianne Nicholson (“August: Osage County,” “Black Mass,” “Masters of Sex,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Eyewitness”) and Takashi Yamaguchi (“Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders”).

Julianne Nicholson as Sophie. (Monterey Media)

The cast also includes three-time Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe winner and Independent Spirit Award winner Diane Ladd (“Joy,” “Rambling Rose,” “Wild at Heart,” “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”); SAG Award winner and Independent Spirit Award nominee Lorraine Toussaint (“Orange Is the New Black,” “Selma,” “Middle of Nowhere,” “Forever”); and three-time Emmy winner and SAG Award nominee Margo Martindale (“August: Osage County,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Americans,” “The Good Wife,” “Justified”).

“Maggie Greenwald’s first adult-oriented feature since ‘Songcatcher’ is an affecting, rose-scented study of small-town prejudice and female friendship,” said Guy Lodge of Variety.

Rated R for some sexuality and nudity. Showtimes: 7:20 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday through Thursday. For more information, call (310) 478-3836 or visit

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