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The final movie in Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy follows the true story of a Vietnamese village girl who survives a life of suffering and hardship during and after the Vietnam war. As a freedom fighter, a hustler, young mother, a sometime prostitute, and the wife of a US. marine, the girl's relationships with men suggests an analogy of Vietnam as Woman and the U.S. as Man. Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thanks for showing us a different Vietnam Mr. Stone ....
Oliver Stone has always had a special bond with Vietnam. He is a veteran of that war and the theme about a veteran trying to cope with his war experiences is a subject that comes back in several of his movies. This is the last movie in his Vietnam trilogy. His first movie was "Platoon" (1986), his second "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989) and the third one was "Heaven & Earth" (1993).
In Heaven & Earth he tells the true story of a Vietnamese village girl who survives a life of suffering and hardship during and after the Vietnam war. Before she meets and marries the U.S. marine Steve Butler, she already has had an entire life behind her. She once fled for the violence of the Viet Cong, leaving her farming village for Saigon together with her mother. But soon she disgraced herself by becoming pregnant with her new master's child and as an unmarried mother, she tried to make a living by being a freedom fighter, a hustler and sometimes a prostitute. As soon as they are married, they move to the USA, but life on the other side of the ocean certainly isn't as perfect as she imagined it to be...
Some people say that it is a good thing that Oliver Stone has finally made a movie that shows the Vietnamese perspective of the war and I agree, but only to a certain extend. It's true that we only get to see movies that show the American side of the story and that we need other movies that give us a broader view on the matter, but "Heaven & Earth" isn't the only 'reversed' Vietnam film. Perhaps not many people know this, but the French movie "Indochine" (1992) does approximately the same. The main difference with "Heaven & Earth" is that it doesn't talk about the 'American' period, but about the French colonial period that proceeded it and in which time the Vietnam war really started (The French had almost lost all their battles when the Americans came to help them and thereby got completely stuck into the war themselves...).
But it is true, Oliver Stone has done a nice job with this movie. He has made it an interesting character study, with the war always present in the background. The acting is very good and I don't think there could have been a better actor than Tommy Lee Jones to play the role of Major Steve Butler. The other actors all did a good job too, in fact, I might say that Stone has had an excellent cast to work with and he probably got the most and the best out of them.
If there is one lesser point to this movie, although only a small one, than it must be the language. The Vietnamese all start by speaking almost perfect English to each other, but when they speak to Americans their English is poor, yet when they speak to each other in front of an American its in Vietnamese. I believe it would have been better if Stone had chosen to let the Vietnamese speak their own language all the time and to speak with an accent when speaking to the Americans. But as I already said, I only see this as a minor detail and it certainly didn't spoil the good times that I had with this movie. This is an underrated movie that deserves to be seen by a great audience. I give it a 7.5/10 at least, perhaps even an 8/10.
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