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Sally Bender is the wife of a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is sent over to Vietnam, and Sally is alone. With nothing else to do, she decides to volunteer at a local veteran's hospital, where she meets Luke, who went to high school with Sally. Luke was wounded and is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. When Sally begins to fall in love with Luke, she has to make a crucial decision about her life.Written by
Sally (Jane Fonda) has a husband fighting in Vietnam and she feels optimistic about American involvement there. However she works at a hospital as a nurse and soon becomes caretaker of a bitter war veteran named Luke (Jon Voight).
At first, she is repelled by him - but over time grows to love him and admires his cause. (Luke feels the Vietnam War is a mistake and that countless innocent lives are being pointlessly lost.) "Coming Home" is the quintessential Vietnam War film - it's anti-war, pessimistic, gritty, depressing, and ultimately sort of whining. Some Vietnam films to go a bit overboard on the "tears for the poor souls" stuff and become very politically correct - "Coming Home" is like this and that might turn some viewers off.
However I thought the plot, characters, directing and writing were all interesting. Hal Ashby ("Shampoo") shows talent behind the camera and Jon Voight and Jane Fonda display chemistry in front of it.
I'm not typically a fan of Voight (or even Fonda to be honest) but they both do a good job here. Voight's final rousing speech to the classroom of students at the movie is simultaneously touching and uplifting. And the love scene is handled with care and doesn't seem gratuitous or unnecessary.
"Coming Home" may have its flaws, but I think it's one of the better "Vietnam movies" to come out of the era. You should see it if you enjoyed "The Deer Hunter" or "Platoon."
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