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Plot, Details & Awards

Sunshine

(2000)

Rated R for strong sexuality, and for violence, language and nudity.

R In Theaters 06/9/2000 , 180min.
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Plot & Details

The fortunes of a family of Hungarian Jews are followed over the course of nearly 150 years in this epic historical drama, with leading man Ralph Fiennes playing three different roles. The story begins in the late 18th century, as Aaron and Josefa Sonnenschein (the name means "Sunshine" in German) die in an explosion while making an herb tonic for sale in their village. Their son Emmanuel (David de Keyser), the only survivor of the tragedy, travels to Budapest, carrying the recipe for the medicine with him. He's able to parlay the formula into a successful business, and Emmanuel and his wife Rose (Miriam Margolyes) raise two sons, Ignatz (Ralph Fiennes), who becomes a successful lawyer, and hot-tempered Gustave (James Frain). The Sonnenscheins also make room in their home for Valerie (Jennifer Ehle), but Emmanuel and Rose become furious when Valerie becomes romantically involved with Ignatz. Eventually, Valerie and Ignatz raise two children, Istvan (Mark Strong) and Adam (Ralph Fiennes), and the family changes its name to Sors in hopes of avoiding the anti-Semitism sweeping Europe. In time, Adam goes so far as to convert to Catholicism, and he marries another Catholic, Hannah (Molly Parker). He soon begins an affair with his brother's wife, Greta (Rachel Weisz), who is unable to persuade Adam to leave as the Nazis rise to power. Adam and Hannah have only one son, Ivan, who is fated to watch his father die in a concentration camp; as Ivan grows to adulthood (now played by Ralph Fiennes), he swears revenge on the forces of fascism and embraces Communism. Ivan throws in his lot with Communist leader Andor Knorr (William Hurt), but a liaison with the wife of a party official (Deborah Kara Unger) leads Ivan to tragic consequences and a jail term. In time, Valarie and Gustave are reunited at the family's estate as the only two members of the Sonnenschein clan who survive to witness the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Hungarian director Istvan Szabo co-wrote Sunshine's original screenplay in collaboration with American playwright Israel Horovitz.

Awards

Golden Globes

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2000 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Original Score Maurice Jarre Nominated
2000 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Director István Szabó Nominated
2000 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Picture - Drama Nominated

European Film Academy

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1999 European Film Academy Best Cinematography Lajos Koltai Won
1999 European Film Academy Best European Screenwriter István Szabó Won
1999 European Film Academy Best Actor Ralph Fiennes Won
1999 European Film Academy Best European Screenwriter Israel Horovitz Won

Genie Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1999 Genie Awards Best Original Score Maurice Jarre Nominated
1999 Genie Awards Best Supporting Actress Deborah Kara Unger Nominated
1999 Genie Awards Best Director István Szabó Nominated
1999 Genie Awards Best Actress Jennifer Ehle Nominated
1999 Genie Awards Best Sound Daniel Pellerin Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Supporting Actor William Hurt Nominated
1999 Genie Awards Best Supporting Actor James Frain Nominated
1999 Genie Awards Best Sound Glen Gauthier Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Actress Rosemary Harris Nominated
1999 Genie Awards Best Sound Editing Andy Malcolm Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Sound Peter Kelly Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Sound Editing Dina Eaton Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Sound Editing Jane Tattersall Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Actor Ralph Fiennes Nominated
1999 Genie Awards Best Sound Editing Fred Brennan Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Picture Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Sound Keith Elliott Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Costume Design Gyorgy Szakacs Nominated
1999 Genie Awards Best Sound Editing David McCallum Won
1999 Genie Awards Best Supporting Actress Rachel Weisz Nominated

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2000 National Board of Review Best Picture Nominated

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