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This fictionalized story, based on the family life of writer James Jones, is an emotionless slice-of-life story. Jones here is portrayed as Bill Willis, a former war hero and now successful author who obviously drinks too much and is starting to experience health problems. Living in France with his wife, daughter, and an adopted son, the family travels an unconventional road that leaves all of them as outsiders to others. Preaching a sexual freedom, his daughter's sexual acceptance begins at an early age and betrays her when the family moves to Hanover in America. Her sexuality is definitely not the normal for American teens and gives her a bad reputation and outcasts her. Meanwhile her brooding brother struggles with his own inner turmoils about his early desertion in life. Only within the tight knit confines of his family is he comfortable to even speak. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
"A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries" is a film which revolves around the proverbial institution known as family, but particularly, the relationship between a daughter and her father.
The film is divided into three separate sections: "Billy," which discusses the arrival of an adopted son into the family, "Francis," which revolves around the female protagonist, Channe's, best friend, and "Daddy."
In each of these categories, we are primarily subjected to the experiences of Channe, who is portrayed by the nubile, charismatic Leelee Sobieski. In them, we learn a little about her character, though strangely enough, not as much as we do about her father, whose unconditional positive regard for his daughter does much more than delineate the characteristics of the relationships among the members of the family.
The acting from the entire cast is superb, and from the actors' and actresses' demeanor emanates a very credible atmosphere. Yet the one element that truly grasped my attention was the editing, which with the exception of a couple of segments, added an extremely high element of poignancy to the story. James Ivory was obviously extremely assiduous with the film in this respect, and the final result consists of a strong narrative which appears somewhat terse, but knows exactly what quantity of what the viewer should be fed.
Cynical commentary has argued that this film is nothing short of tripe because it lacks a resolute motive--it consists of no conflict at all. All it is is disjointed scenes which serve no relevance to one another, and fail to tell a coherent story. The former statement in regards to the lack of conflict holds true, but the latter is what might be deemed questionable. Afterall, this is a story about the life of a family--and in a real family, few events from the past bear relevance to those of the present. "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries" simply seeks to discuss the development of relationships in a family; events of high caliber are discussed thoroughly, while those of less importance portray to be all that they could ever be: memories.
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