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...
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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 the kind of movie that, in spite of American production, feels very European. American movies tend to be sentimental with plenty of scenes specifically calculated to make viewers get teary eyed. European movies, though, usually opt for a more naturalistic approach that refuses to wallow in emotions. In the case of "Soldier´s Daughter", this characteristic can be both good and bad. It is good in the sense that the movie seems more realistic because one must admit that in real life, melodramatic conduct is not too common. Emotions seem to be hidden rather than absent and they actually do appear in small explosions like in the somewhat odd outbursts of the mother towards the end. Emotions also seem to be behind the strange behavior of the characters (e.g. the maid scrubbing the floor at midnight after breaking up with her lover or Billy acting antisocial to make up for his feelings of resentment). Howwever, there are quite a few scenes which should have been emotionally powerful but aren´t. A good dose of American sentiment could have made a difference. For example, in the one scene where Channe finally starts crying (the title of the movie is a saying her father keeps quoting at her), I understood the place of it in the plot but was not touched by it. When Francis, heartbroken, says goodbye to Channe after telling her his secret, the situation should have been heartrending but it also left me feeling hollow - and this in spite of the fact that Francis, an effeminate heterosexual, was probably the film´s most fascinating character. Furthermore, the parents´ understated reactions often make it seem that they do not really love or care about their children the way everyone keeps insisting they do (is that a possible hidden meaning ?).
Otherwise, the movie is fine in the sense that it is intelligently written. Not only is it based on a novel but it feels as if it WAS a novel rather than a movie. The family is portrayed quite realistically. Even though the film does not seem to try to be artistic, it is lyrical enough to be seen as art.
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