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Jeremy Collier is a Vietnam veteran who has returned home and is struggling to cope with the war experiences that haunt him. He is also at odds with his family, who cannot begin to understand what he has been through. Jeremy's battles with his family finally spiral out of control on Thanksgiving Day, when a bitter secret is revealed. Written by
I caught this movie on TV yesterday. I had a certain curiosity about it, being that it was directed by Emilio Estevez and starring him and his real-life Dad, Martin Sheen. I love to see a movie about a father-son relationship that involves a real-life father and son. Naturally, there's an instant chemistry between Sheen and Estevez, and their scenes of conflict are even more intense, knowing that they're actually related. Of course, it helps that the two of them are both terrific actors. I've seen Martin Sheen in intense roles before, but I think this is Emilio's most intense role--being that I mostly recall him from the "Mighty Ducks" series--and I was very impressed. Talent REALLY does run in that family. And Kathy Bates steals the movie in an Oscar-worthy performance. She tugged at my heartstrings with every word of dialogue. Kimberly Williams--the beautiful actress from the "Father of the Bride" movies--is also very good, holding her own among a group of talented veteran actors.
The movie is a bit stagey, with dialogue that's obviously geared for the stage, but that didn't bother me. This is not meant to be an action movie; this is a character study. And for a film that's based on a play, it never gets too claustrophobic. When Emilio's character, Jeremy, reminisces to his days in Vietnam, we actually see his harrowing memories brought to life.
The film is extremely powerful and realistic, without being sentimental. At the end, I expected all the conflicts to be resolved and the family would become hunky-dory, but that's not how it turned out. The ending made me cry, without resorting to standard Hollywood melodrama. That proves reality is much more gripping than anything Hollywood can conjure up.
If you're in the mood for a beautiful, powerful drama with extremely wonderful performances that will knock your socks off...please check out this underrated gem. Hopefully, one day Martin and Emilio will unite with Charlie, and they will all make a great film together.
My score: 9 (out of 10)
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