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Sunshine (1999)

HD   R Closed Captioning

István Szabó

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About the Movie

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.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 62
  • Fresh: 45
  • Rotten: 17
  • Average Rating: 7.1/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: Well-intentioned but never entirely engaging ... – Eddie Cockrell, Variety, Aug 30, 2016

Fresh: This is a movie of substance and thrilling historical sweep, and its three hours allow Szabo to show the family's destiny forming and shifting under pressure. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, Aug 30, 2016

Fresh: It's an absorbing, weighty picture, which worries at still important ideas about duty and inheritance, and at how we may define ourselves against the tide of history. – Geoff Andrew, Time Out, Aug 30, 2016

Fresh: This is story telling on a grand scale and not to be missed. – Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile, Aug 30, 2016

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


This movie has drama all the way through it. It supposed to be a long movie, but it keeps your interest every moment so you do not know that time has passed. It takes you through several generations of this interesting family and the changes in their country that affect their lives. It takes you through the changes the family must go through as jews to succeed. You just get lost in the story when you watch this movie. N.L.O.

Isvan Szabo is a Genius

This epic of the turn of the century is entirely underrated by American audienes who haven't the patience for its depth and breath and meaning. It ought to be required for every high school history class.

Sunshine - A napfeny ize

I`ve been knowing this movie since they shot it (in my street as well).. and love it! Watch it every year just to remember where I`m coming from as well. Great introduction of a century and family dynamics. A movie I`m very proud of and definitely a must see!

Sunshine (1999)
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  • $12.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2001

Customer Ratings