Most movies are a poor second or third to most any best-seller on which they are based. But this film, along with a very few others such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Last Picture Show", is a rare exception. It is Streep at her very tip top greatest. Kline's psychotic lover to Sophie is unnerving in the most intense way. Most crazies don't sit in the corner babbling or drueling. The most disturbing appear "normal" until something happens in their lives to upset their delicately balanced stasis. The word that best describes the movie is "pathos". This is gut wrenching, hair pulling fill your underpants pathos! As such it is probably, along with a few other films like "The Pawnbroker" the best of existentialism to be found in modern films. Don't see this movie if you want a happy ending with the birds singing. The birds are probably singing as it ends, but no one notices as "Stingo" reads his hauntingly elegant poetry to Sophie and Nathan.