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Sally Bender is the wife of a Captain in the United States Marine Corps. He is sent over to Vietnam, and Sally is alone. With nothing else to do, she decides to volunteer at a local veteran's hospital, where she meets Luke, who went to high school with Sally. Luke was wounded and is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. When Sally begins to fall in love with Luke, she has to make a crucial decision about her life. Written by
Without a single scene of combat footage, this story manages to convey, in realistically painful terms, how much Vietnam scarred the landscape of America. And this is only a fictional viewpoint. The true life accounts must be gut wrenching. No one returned from the war the same person. To suggest a film be made showing an unaffected soldier would be incredibley unbelievable. When attitudes change and characters grow from harsh realities, you can't help but be caught up in their struggle. People you would never expect to protest a US -involved conflict, or even question it, did so with Vietnam. The Jane Fonda Sally character is such a person. She begins the picture somewhat naive, easily trusting, and sort of tied to her straight laced military existence as the wife of an enlisted man. But then she sees an entirely different world when he's gone, and over months, falls for his total opposite, symbolizing how much she can never go back to the woman she was at the beginning. It's very subtle and deeply felt acting that can achieve this and both Fonda and Voight deserved their Oscars for their moving and expert performances. Bruce Dern is the hardest to sympathsize with on the surface, but you realize he's been scarred by what he's seen too, and what has happened to him in his absence, so his world becomes more bitter as everything he once knew shatters around him. The 3 experiences, his, Voight's and Fonda's merge together at the end, in a series of heartbreaking realizations, until you're left as broken as the country was after the war. You can't NOT be affected by what happened in Nam. It's impossible. And this film clearly shows why. It's the most personal and touching of Hollywood's Vietnam treatments. And certainly the deepest acted. Buy a copy and judge for yourself...
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