On the day of her engagement, Grace Kieler finds her family and fiancé divided on political matters. With her future husband off to join the Union army and her brother vowing loyalty to the...
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Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
On the day of her engagement, Grace Kieler finds her family and fiancé divided on political matters. With her future husband off to join the Union army and her brother vowing loyalty to the Confederates, she is torn. She promises her father that she will protect and care for her brother. Upon her father's death Grace decides to cut her hair, don her brother's clothes, and take his name to join the ranks of the Rebel army. She must find him and keep him from getting killed. Along the way, she meets Virginia Klaising, a widow and mother grieving the death of her only son. Virginia begins to fall for this Rebel 'boy' as they travel the backwoods avoiding both armies trying to get back home. By the same turn, Henry (Grace) finds himself comforted by this unfortunate woman. Together they are able to mend the wounds that tear the underpinnings of the heart. As love blooms and the secret becomes harder to conceal, the two realize that they have something precious---an unspoken candor that ... Written by
I apologize to Ms. Hamilton who clearly devoted a great deal of time, energy, and love to this project, but the final product here is really not very good. It's her first screenplay to make it to film, her directorial debut, and she is the lead character. I am sure she will improve as her experience grows.
In the first 20 minutes, there were at least 25 scene cuts with few lasting as long as 90 seconds. But that made sense in the bigger view because the characters had incredibly little to say. Not much of what they said was trite, but there was virtually nothing in which to engage a viewer in the story except to continue questioning when this forced pushing of the story along to the real stuff was going to end. One scene at a dinner table had some good dialog, but even that ended abruptly and it was the longest scene of the first 25.
There were also some elements that compromised the realism of the story. Some of these may have come from budget issues in what is obviously an independent and very privately, maybe singularly, financed film. A lone Confederate tent in the middle of a field for what is supposed to be Longstreet's 1st Virginia Rifles, a soldier with a shoulder wound and, 15 minutes later - albeit 22 scenes later, not even a hole in his jacket sleeve. That soldier deciding alone that his friend should "infiltrate" the Federals and become a spy. She should have had at least SOMEONE in a command position in the script to look like he was going through the camp recruiting spies - but then again, there was no camp. Although, the dinner scene was well set, relatively authentically, and staged.
Others did not appear to come from budget issues. Longstreet's divisions were not in the Virginia mountains in 1862. Calvary very rarely fought on their mounts, especially Union calvary in 1862. The only strong man on the farm enlists and leaves for the Confederate army right before the harvest. Many Confederate soldiers came home just for harvest time. None would have left the farm just before the harvest leaving his elderly father and sister to pull the harvest alone. There was no compelling reason to enlist just then. Lee was on the move south toward Fredricksburg having been spanked a bit at Antietam in September
with Longstreet. They did not move through the Virginia mountains to
get there. This setting had to be middle to late October, the leaves on the trees in Virginia had turned to their autumn colors. A girl finds her brother's name on some clothing he had left when he returned to the farm to store it before going off to spy, and she runs her hand over it as if she is in awe of the script instead of registering some anger, since we had just learned, the only thing keeping her from going to Baltimore and personal safety was waiting for her brother to return. She just realized he had returned and had not even spoken to her before leaving again. Of course, if she goes to Baltimore, she can't enlist as the story progresses. So, I don't quarrel with the outcome there, just with the means to arriving at it.
There were some others similar to that, some not so similar, but my intention isn't to run Ms. Hamilton's work into the ground. This one never took flight and I am hopeful her projects, as she continues to grow, do.
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