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Sommersby (1993)

A farmer returns home from the Civil War, but his wife begins to suspect that the man is an impostor.

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(film The Return of Martin Guerre), (film The Return of Martin Guerre) | 4 more credits »
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Lanny Flaherty ...
Buck
...
Travis
...
Orin
...
Little Rob
...
Reverend Powell
...
Esther
...
Joseph
...
Dick Mead (as Ronald Lee Ermey)
Richard Hamilton ...
...
Mrs. Evans
Carter McNeese ...
Storekeeper Wilson
Dean Whitworth ...
Tom Clemmons
Stan Kelly ...
John Green
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Storyline

Set in the south of the United States just after the Civil War, Laurel Sommersby is just managing to work the farm without her husband Jack, believed killed in the Civil War. By all accounts, Jack Sommersby was not a pleasant man, thus when he returns, Laurel has mixed emotions. It appears that Jack has changed a great deal, leading some people to believe that this is not actually Jack but an impostor. Laurel herself is unsure, but willing to take the man into her home, and perhaps later into her heart... Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She knew his face. His touch. His voice. She knew everything about him... But the truth.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

5 February 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Stranger Within  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$50,081,992 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DuArt)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was on the set of this movie that star Jodie Foster met her longtime romantic partner Cydney Bernard, who was working as a production coordinator. They had two children together and remained a couple until their 2008 break-up. See more »

Goofs

The fiddle being played at the homecoming dance is fitted with a chin piece, which was not used until the 20th century. See more »

Quotes

Laurel Sommersby: You are not my husband!
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Connections

Featured in 70th Golden Globe Awards (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
You and this child are in danger of spending eternity in everlasting damnation!
23 March 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Directed by Jon Amiel, Sommersby is adapted from the historical account of 16th Century French peasant Martin Guerre. It was previously filmed as The Return of Martin Guerre in 1982. It stars Richard Gere, Jodie Foster and Bill Pullman. Music is by Danny Elfman and cinematography by Philippe Rousselot.

In simple terms the film is about a man (Jack Sommersby) who went off to war and was presumed dead by his wife (Laurel) and the village folk of the village where he lived. Some 9 years later he returns a changed man, back in the marital bed and a hero to the village. But then questions start to crop up and it becomes a possibility that this man may not after all be who he claims to be. Sounds bizarre for sure, yet it's a true story, and a fascinating one at that.

For this American version we get top line production values across the board, with the film propelled with grace and skill by Gere and Foster in the lead roles of Jack and Laurel Sommersby. Director Amiel rightly uses the slow burn approach, a consideration to the art of story telling. This draws the viewer firmly into the post Civil War period and lets us get to know the principal players and their surroundings.

The core narrative thrust is a moving romance, one consistently under pressure of a mystery to be proved or disproved. But there's also economic issues to hand, very much so, and the vile stench of racism still hangs in the air. There's a lot going on in Sommersby and it never sags because of it. Also refreshing that in spite of some critical grumblings in some quarters, the ending is potent and not very Hollywood at all.

It's not flawless and although it's based on a true story, some suspension of disbelief is needed as regards physical appearance of Jack and his means and motives. Yet this is a lovely film, simple in story telling structure, beautifully photographed and performed, it very much feels and plays like a classic era period piece. 8/10


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