Soldier's Girl (TV Movie 2003) Poster

(2003 TV Movie)

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A beautiful love story.
DameFlux3 August 2004
This is a film that will challenge your definition of gender and redefine the meaning of love. The true life story of Calpernia Addams and her successful yet tragic relationship with the soldier who fell in love with her, Barry Winchell. First , this is one of the best films I have ever seen. Originally made for HBO it could easily have made the big screen. Frank Pierson directs with a gentle hand and delivers poetry to vehicle that could have been awkward in anothers hands. Ron Nyswaner's script is sharp and deep so Pierson is well backed.

The cast is killer . Troy Garity delivers a surprisingly subtle portrayal of the soldier Barry Winchell. Barry is not an intellectual but far more emotionally intelligent than those around him. He falls in love with an exotic transsexual dancer Calpernia Addams for all the reasons a man usually does for any woman. She is smart , beautiful and underneath the dancers facade a true woman who yearns for someone to care for.

Lee Pace who plays Calpernia faced a huge challenge in that he really is a man but he is so powerful an actor that it takes only moments to convince you the heart of this character is truly a woman's. A classically trained actor Pace finds a way to give Calpernia both the accurate movement of a woman yet the fragile heart of a romantic in danger . I hope that Paces future is not stunted by this role because after delivering this kind of performance it will be really hard to top it. Pace manifests Calpernia so well it defies his physical reality . That feat is beyond most Hollywood actors period.

Added to the mix is the macho soldier named Justin Fisher who befriends Barry only to become the cause of his demise. . A hardcore soldier who drugs himself to keep up with the demands of being the best of the best Fisher is himself both a homophobe , jealous competitor for Barry's attention and dangerously loose cannon . Played by Shawn Hatosy the performance is pretty stunning. I swear I have known guys like this in my life. Shawn delivers Fisher with incredible rawness and realism. A macho redneck with disturbing secrets. You will hate Fisher and yet pity how pathetic he is as a human being he is . Brilliant work. Very rare. Hatosy gives a perfect delivery.

Last is the new arrival Calvin Glover , a wet behind the ears soldier that Fisher easily dupes into carrying out his vengeance against Barry. Played by Philip Eddolls the team of Fisher and Glover fits perfectly . Fisher the power to dominate and Glover his easily manipulated puppet. Too stupid to even grasp the seriousness of his crime Glover is someone you will recognize . Eddolls doesn't hold back anything in trying to give us Glovers small man complex.

If you are homophobic at all you will probably not like this movie but if you believe that love transcends the physical genders we are given you will be moved. Despite finding this DVD in the "gay " section of Amazon.com this is truly love story between a man and a woman. Well worth watching. A+
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9/10
AN IMPORTANT LESSON ON LIFE AND LOVE!
richard cavellero28 January 2004
Don't watch this film unless you wanna cry. Sexy Troy Garity of Barbershop gives a powerful, stellar performance as a young soldier in the airborne infantry whom falls in love with a beautiful transsexual. The film treats their love affair as simple and normal as they face the complex emotions that the world throws at them. It's truly beautiful and a sight to behold. Because the film is based on a true story it makes it all the more painful to watch. The performances are inspiring, the screenplay is thoughtful and poignant. The only flaw the film retains is a quick ending. There is such a investement in these charachters I wish they would've took more time to show the effects of hate. It's films like these that change things. People's minds, people's hearts, people's views. It's such ashame that it was confined to television this film should be widely celebrated for it's diversity, courage and beauty. Much like it's main charachters it will never be forgotten.
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10/10
FINALLY, A NEW INSIGHT INTO REALITY
mratchford125 September 2004
I am not going to add to the insightful reviews made so far in the paradigm of today's society. Instead I would like to note the following:

I understood perhaps for the first time in my life a radically new point of view.

In the past my smug assumption was that a transsexual was 'simply' a man who loved being accepted as a woman. "Duh," some of you might say, what else COULD it be?

Well, what I saw in this gem of a movie, this magic lantern of the soul as it were, was something more. I saw that NATURE herself was the actor.

In a nutshell (possible bad word for me to use here!) what I now see is; SOME genders REALLY ARE opposite genders inside. In this movie I was struck blind like the Bible's Paul with the vision that a woman's soul COULD inhabit a mans body, and so would 'simply' live out life with as much dignity as SOCIETY would allow.

If this is even marginally true, we are ALL indicted barbarians and cavedwellers for not seeing the obvious... and the lid on 'The Pandora's Box of What's Normal' has finally been lovingly lifted off its hinges and thrown into the abyss!

Thank you writers, directors and especially actors --- for portraying that at all; and so well!
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10/10
Movie worth seeing
inluvwithjolie6720 December 2004
I remember a couple of months ago hearing the story of Barry Winchell on A&E. I was so hurt and disgusted by the fact that something like this could happen and the person that did this awful thing was not put to death. So later when I heard about Soldier's Girl, I decided to rent it and check it out. I put it in and was entranced by this amazing love story. I was moved to tears, which is a difficult thing for me to do. The story was so loving and yet so tragic. Like Calpernia says in the beginning of the movie, "I'm going to tell you a story, like all great stories, it is a love story. And like all great love stories, it's tragic." The movie broke my heart and I was ashamed to know that my country let this happen and go unpunished in my opinion. Facing the homophobia of society is tough for any person, I know this first hand. Barry Winchell was a resilient person to be able to take what he took from others, and not let them stop him from falling in love. Best movie I've seen based on a true story in awhile. I would recommend seeing it to anyone.
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10/10
Excellent, powerful film
rgad9 February 2004
I loved the film and I'm still remembering various scenes from it. As a victim of a gay hate bashing many years ago when I was 22 which almost killed me, it affected me deeply.

The military code of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is stupid. As was the segretation of blacks and whites in the military until around 1943. As was the forbidding of interracial marriages in this country in a number of states until 1967. As was the internment of Asian American citizens during World War II. As is the antipathy against civil marriage for same-sex couples now. Where is "love" in all this? Why is it not even being mentioned? Love for one's country and for each other. Barry and Calpernia loved each other. What's wrong with that? When two people love each other and decide to share their lives together, that's a commitment between two people. Not a commitment with the government or any religion. They can only acknowledge the commitment in the way each does. Love doesn't recognize restrictions; it's universal.

Bigotry kills. This movie demonstrates that. Also, back to reality, I've read the commander (or whatever they're called) of Fort Campbell who never said a word about the anti-gay attitude of Fort Campbell at this time was recently promoted. Now what does that say about our government and the military?

I gave the movie a 10. I only wish I could give more people the same score.
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A Great & Terrible Film.
Jessy Castiglione14 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The facts surrounding this story are for the most part accurate. Although Calvin Glover was 19 not 17 and Calpernia Addams did not live in a mobile home it still stuck pretty close to the actual events. This movie was more than just another story about a soldier who was beat to death. It was a tribute and a reminder of how barbaric some humans can be. The whole film screams "Reality Check"! I have seen this movie quite a few times and every time I still find myself getting emotional. Garity and Lee deliver an all out performance. Truly brazen and stunning. There is no happy ending just tears and tissues. There is no justification for what happened to Barry Winchell and nothing can ever bring him back. But his memory will always survive in the minds of whoever watches this film.

The outcome: Calvin Glover sits in a cell wasting our money as he was given life in prison.

Unfortunately Justin Fisher "The instigator" is up for parole soon and may be allowed to rejoin society after only 4.5 years in prison.

In the end many lives were devastated and a good man and soldier was lost. There is no justifying that.
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Very powerful moving film that made me sad and glad at the same time
badgrrlkane21 March 2004
First off congrats to the wonderful Troy Garity and to Lee pace ( Especially Lee Pace) for really doing a film where both of these actors will be noticed for more film roles in the future and I was very glad to see at this years Emmy Awards that they weren't forgotten at least as nominees though Lee Pace definatley deserved an award for playing a throughly convincing transsexual. Also kudos to Shawn Hatosy for playing a very sexually repressed moron who if he'd have just accepted his own blossoming homosexual feelings the real Mr Winchell would still be here today. I apperciate this movie on so many levels from it showing how this nations military policy of " Don't ask Don't tell" is absolute BS, to how society at large and including our own president feels about the love bewteen 2 people of the same sex. And it shows just how judgemental society is tworads especially the transgendered society in todays world. The ending as shocking as it it is is just as brutal as the story of the late Teena Brandon as her story was depicted in the equally great film Boy's Don't Cry. If you have Showtime watch this film when they replay it or go to your local video store and rent the VHS or DVD of this phenominal film. Redencks and Homophobes steer clean of thsi movie. I wouldn't want you to get your jollies off watching a kind and sincere person die for loving someone who was just as kind but confused about their sexuality. ***** out of *****
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7/10
Love, Intolerance, Cruelty, Manipulation and Cowardliness
Claudio Carvalho1 April 2013
In 1999, the soldier Barry Winchell (Troy Garity) joins the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army in Kentucky and shares a room with Justin Fisher (Shawn Hatosy) in the barrack. Fisher brings Winchell to the Visions Club, in Nashville, considered club of deviants by his superiors, and Winchell befriends the travesty Calpernia Addams (Lee Pace) that performs in the club. Soon they start seeing each other and fall in love with each other.

When Sergeant Carlos Diaz (Andre Braugher) nominates Winchell as the Soldier of the Month, the jealous Fisher spreads rumors on the base telling that Winchell is a fag. Further, he manipulates the homophobic new comer Calvin Glover (Philip Eddolls) against Winchell. On July, Fourth, the coward Glover has a violent outburst against Winchell while he is sleeping with tragic consequences.

"Soldier's Girl" is a heartbreaking story of love, intolerance, cruelty, manipulation and cowardliness based on the true story of the soldier Barry Winchell. The movie is impressively well made for a television movie, with a perfect direction of Frank Pierson.

However the performances are the best in this movie, highlighting the acting of Lee Pace with an outstanding performance. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): Not Available
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10/10
Excellent, powerful film
rgad9 February 2004
I loved the film and I'm still remembering various scenes from it. As a victim of a gay hate bashing many years ago when I was 22 which almost killed me, it affected me deeply.

The military code of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is stupid. As was the segregation of blacks and whites in the military until around 1943. As was the forbidding of interracial marriages in this country in a number of states until 1967. As was the internment of Asian American citizens during World War II. As is the antipathy against civil marriage for same-sex couples now. Where is "love" in all this? Why is it not even being mentioned? Love for one's country and for each other. Barry and Calpernia loved each other. What's wrong with that? When two people love each other and decide to share their lives together, that's a commitment between two people. Not a commitment with the government or any religion. They can only acknowledge the commitment in the way each does. Love doesn't recognize restrictions; it's universal.

Bigotry kills. This movie demonstrates that. Also, back to reality, I've read the commander (or whatever they're called) of Fort Campbell who never said a word about the anti-gay attitude of Fort Campbell at this time was recently promoted. Now what does that say about our government and the military?

I gave the movie a 10. I only wish I could give more people the same score.
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Good, dare I say important, film with no Army adviser in sight
will-2556 April 2004
Overall well worth watching. It does have the standard host of Army reality errors -- calling NCOs sir, wearing hats indoors when not bearing weapons, calling a Sergeant Major "sarge," etc. Curiously, having extremely defective people (like the nut with the bat) in the Army, especially combat arms, is NOT an error. When I was a tanker in the late 80s, I saw America's finest, most giving, young men. I also saw a lot of mutants that wouldn't make it on the outside. At that time 90%+ of both types were rabidly homophobic. I doubt much has changed. Because of that, I find it a bit difficult to buy that the main character wouldn't hide his affair much better than the movie depicted. Then again, things did go terribly wrong. Even though I'm a strong supporter of the military, when "don't ask, don't tell" was created, I thought that a gay person must be insane to want to go into the service. Clearly, little has changed.
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8/10
Don't ask, don't tell
jotix1002 April 2005
The absurd "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in our armed forces is a big hypocrisy. LIke in all walks of life, homosexuality exists and it's incredible the government has decided to continue with this line of thought to this date. Death doesn't differentiate between gay or straight. As patriotic is the soldier, male or female, that serves his country and dies for it, no matter what their sexual preferences are.

It's commendable that director Frank Pierson has decided to bring this story to the screen, based on actual events that occurred not too long ago. The film shows a lot of courage in the part of the people behind this project because of the material. Remembering vaguely this incident that had national media coverage, one is not prepared for the reality one is presented in it.

"Soldier Girl" is a document about hatred and ignorance. These macho soldiers have to make a stand belittling and ridiculing people that are different; they believe it's a deviant behavior to be gay. Their arrogance is such that they will resort to violence in order to make their point. They even go to the same places where gays gather peacefully to have fun, by themselves, and where one would think, no straight person has any business going to. The intrusion into other people's lives is what makes this story so heart wrenching.

This is a film to watch because of the magnificent portrayal of the evil Justin Fisher, by Shawn Hatosy. This young actor doesn't seem to stop amazing in whatever character he decides to play. Mr. Hatosy has the knack for transforming himself completely into the character one sees on the screen. Having recently seen him in "Borstal Boy", as Fisher, he even surpasses what he accomplished in that other movie. His Fisher is a character study into a man that is a closet case, himself, while presenting a tough and manly front to the world. Yet, one gets the impression he wants Winchell to be his sexual partner.

The talented Troy Garity is excellent as the slow, but tremendously kind, Barry Winchell. Mr. Garity appears to be a babe in the woods; he wins us over because his sincerity and honesty. When he falls for the transsexual Calpernia Addams at the Visons night spot, we wonder if he really is that naive, or that deep down Barry feels a love at first sight with her.

As Calpernia, Lee Pace is perfectly believable as the person who suddenly finds the right soul mate when Barry begins seeing her. This actor does a wonderful job in getting inside his character. Philip Eddolls makes a perfect Calvin, the young recruit that will act on the hatred that Fisher keeps daring him to do in a sly way. Andre Braugher is the kind Sgt. Diaz, who is totally brainwashed by the army policy of not getting involved, but ultimately helping the bullies under his command maim and kill for no reason at all.

"Soldier Girl" is a film that will stay with the viewer for a long, long time. It's hard to forget what bigotry and ignorance can do to people.
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9/10
Homophobia kills
leliorisen18 June 2003
Warning: Spoilers
(To those unfamiliar with the true story that the movie is based on, there are spoilers below, please be advised.)

I am very familiar with the murder of PFC Barry Winchell back in 1999. I send out a newsfeed to the glbt community on the Internet and was especially disturbed to be sending out coverage on this story as it unfolded.

As far as the movie goes, it is very unsettling and hard to watch, once you know the subject matter....in the same way that "Boys Don't Cry" was very hard for me, not to mention the Matthew Shepard movie incarnations. But it needs to be seen.

Words can't express the horror one can feel when you know that your sexuality alone is enough to make someone want to brutally kill you.

Watching this story left me feeling desolate and sad. I gave it a 9 out of 10, because of the amazing performances of the leads in recreating this tragic tale. But I had a problem with it.

Winchell's actual killer is hardly a part of this movie until near the end. There was very little attempt made to flesh out the hostile relationship. From this movie's point-of-view, the real killer was the roommate who instigated it. While that may be the case, it seemed cinematically unbalanced to present a case for him that almost seemed to elicit sympathy, without letting the viewer know more about the goings-on inside the actual killer's head.

Additionally, those that know the real story have learned that there was apparently a climate of homophobia and anti-gay harassment present at Fort Campbell. But, from the movie, you'd never get the sense that anti-gay harassment was all that much of an issue. Winchell was allegedly harassed repeatedly. This film does not really convey that.

Outside of an over-zealous officer, who chanted anti-gay cadence songs (it was widely publicized, by a gay soldier who left the base after the killing, that this went on at Fort Campbell AFTER the Winchell murder)and the 2 who went to jail, everyone else comes off as relatively tolerant of gays, as if "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" works.

America is virtually the only western nation (I believe the other is Turkey) that does not allow gays to serve in the military.

After watching the ultimate result of codified homophobia that this movie relates, hopefully people will start understanding that homophobia does, indeed, kill, and start demanding a change.
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10/10
Gave it a 10 for a TV Movie
nicedude2314 March 2004
I don't think this movie could have been done any better given that it was on a ShowTime TV budget.

This movie takes a big political issue, about someone being attacked by comrades in the US military for allegedly being gay, and turns it into a love story. The politics are left out of the movie and the viewer is left at the end to judge for themselves.

There is some very excellent acting and you connect with the characters on many levels. It shows how a straight, but possibly gay, young man can fall in love with a former man. You connect with this onorthodox relationship.

The military life is also very well portrayed. Throughout the movie the machismo of the movie maybe overplayed; but it shows how this boy also has conflicted feelings with the military. He truly loves being in it and strives to be the best soldier and believes in the sacrifices that serving men make. Yet, he hates how he is being harassed how he has to live with a disturbed roommate.

The drag club scenes were awesome (on par or better than Pricilla Queen of the Desert), so if you are going to rent it just for gay appeal go for it! This movie has much broader appeal.

I trust that everyone reading this (because I know you have watched the movie) tells other people to watch it too! I rented it at Hollywood videa, in the burbs, so it is widely distributed.

A quick reminder to go out and Rock the Vote in elections.
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10/10
A Timeless Love Story, Bring Your Hanky
gslind29 January 2004
Based on a 1999 true story, Soldier's Girl is a poignant and ultimately heartbreaking love story of two people from different worlds. It's an old story, one that never changes and has played out for centuries of mankind. The only thing that changes are the differences. The intolerance, cruelty and prices paid always remain the same.

Studly Barry Winchell (deftly played by Troy Garity - son of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden) is the new, young recruit on a macho Army base just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. One night, as a joke, the boys from the barracks pay a visit to a local drag club where Winchell's fascination (and ours) begins with the memerizingly beautiful, transexual performer, Calpurnia.

Calpurnia Adams, stunningly portrayed by Lee Pace, has mixed emotions at first about letting this brutally handsome straight boy into her world and into her heart. Finding himself attracted to someone like Calpurnia is new territory for Winchell as well. The tenderness and particularly the bonds of trust that slowly develops between the two is realistic. It could have been very easy to cross all the wrong boundaries with this type of movie, but it was executed with a carefully crafted and believable realism and in good taste.

The two embark on a clandestine love affair that ultimately and predictably ends in tragedy.

Soldier's Girl might cause you to question your views on gays in the military, love, and the infinitely broad spectrum of human sexuality.

Originally produced for Showtime, now available on DVD, Soldier's Girl was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards for both leads.
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10/10
Sad But True...
hcsjds23 January 2004
I thought Soldier's Girl was phenomenal. The movie did an amazing job of portraying this terrible but true incident. The acting and makeup/prosthetics were incredible! As others have said, this movie shows the ridiculousness of the U. S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. My heart goes out to PFC Barry Winchell and his family.
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10/10
Fantastic movie portraying a touching story
daewryn14 August 2003
The story behind Calpernia Addams and PFC Barry Winchell's love story is promising yet tragic at the same time. Their true love is something that is hard to find and the fact that Calpernia continues on after this tragedy attests to the strength of a strong heart. This movie does a wonderful job portraying the characters and events in the real story. The actors truly bring you in and make you see them as the characters they are playing. I don't think a finer film could have been made to get across the important points this tragic event brings out, including the problem with Don't ask don't tell, and the promise of finding love. I've watched this movie over and over and it has left a lasting impression on me.
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10/10
Excellent Movie!!!
genetic_body29 June 2003
Soldier's Girl is a movie that should touch all, regardless of sexual orientation. It is more/less the truth of the United States military and their views on homosexuality. I do not want to spoil the movie for others, but I give you my word, this is an excellent film!!
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10/10
Powerful
snoopyk18 June 2003
The movie doesn't preach, it simply tells about a love story that goes terribly wrong. Powerful portrayal of real life events surrounding part of the life and brutal death of PFC Barry Winchell at Fort Campbell,Kentucky.

Some of the best cinema and acting I've seen in a long while.

I was an Airborne Infantryman in Vietnam...67-68. In my experience the movie also, without intent, accurately portrays the macho-mindset that exists in the military. It also shows homophobia at it's worst and demonstrates the abject failure of the "don't ask don't tell" policy without setting out to do so.
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10/10
Don't miss it...
CelticGoddess6 June 2003
This is one of the best films I've seen in a LONG time. As much as I loved "Boys Don't Cry," this film surpasses it. The astonishing performances of Lee Pace and Troy Garity immediately drew me into the love story. It surpassed any thought of sexuality and was all about attraction of the soul. The director did not shrink from the sex or the violence - both are presented honestly; the murder, rather graphically. Nothing is sensationalized.

If you love great film and acting, do NOT miss "Soldier's Girl."
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8/10
Tragic Story in US Army
tuc3504319 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This film is about a soldier falling in love with a transgendered female performer at a club. He met her in the club and got addicted to her at the first sight. They then kept a secret relationship between each other. However, homosexual people are banned in the army. The main character, Barry, refused to admit that he had a transgendered partner and struggled very hard. Meanwhile, his roommate Fisher, had a special feeling toward him. His trans phobic feeling is hidden in his heart, at the same time he is jealous of the couple being in such a good relationship. He manipulated Glover, who also had a bit of psychological problem, to show his strength by hitting Barry. At the end, Barry got hit seriously by Glover and died.

This film strongly criticizes the American law of banning homosexuality in the army. At the time of when this movie was made, homosexuality was still banned, until recently President Obama abolished the regulation. Personally, I think the original intention of this law is to avoid any relationship among the soldiers in the army, as all of them are male. However, it turns out to be discrimination in some way. Homosexual people can be as strong as the other soldiers and should be treated the same.
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7/10
Dead On
jzappa6 July 2007
The utmost thing about this film that I admire is its portrayal of ADHD in Shawn Hatosy's character. Hatosy and writer Ron Nyswaner pinpointed many little-known characteristics of this under-considered, virtually ignored condition, such as the energy, the shocking and destructive proximity mine of a temper, and the constantly wishing and washing intentions of complete ambiguity to everyone including himself. There is even a fixation on realism in his character's incidental things, some even seeming like they may have been improvised, such as when he screams at Troy Garity and throws the plates against the wall and letting them shatter, then putting his hands indecisively and fearfully on his hips yet maintaining the infuriated grimace. This is a major plus for me, because I have never seen a character in a film who is said to have diagnosed ADHD with the exception of Dustin Hoffman's crime boss in Confidence, which is played with a nervous comic touch and a reference to his condition and hardly anything else indicative. I will always admire this film for displaying a dead-on true-to-life depiction of ADHD.

The other extreme high point of the film is Lee Pace's amazing chameleonlike performance as a transsexual. This is a straight male actor who constantly, in many moments throughout, makes us feel convinced that we are watching a pretty, completely effeminate woman. He draws a fine line of balance between his scenes of complete transformation into an coy and attractive woman and his scenes wherein he is a woman trapped in a man's body, which is also a challenge all the same. Pace and Hatosy make this film the realistic and frustratingly honest experience that it is. However, not everything is on par with these two milestone performances.

The ending is not consistent with the rest of the film, and the reason it's difficult to explain why is because it has the same ambiguity as Hatosy's character, but whether that was intentional or not, it doesn't work, because even ambiguity in film-making has to be made clear. The almost abstract way that the film leads to its intensely sad climax makes sense, and so does the denouement, but the denouement is treated like the film continually forgets to add something else important. However, the film is very low-budget, to the point where any major shot of Army activity is blatantly clear to be stock footage, because the picture, grain, and speed of the image are so obviously different from that of the rest of the film. So this makes me think that director Frank Pierson perhaps reached for techniques in pace and tone that with such limited production values were skewed.

What truly did get on my nerves a wee bit were the mannerisms and dialects of the actors in the Army, and that even includes Hatosy, and Troy Garity, whose performance as the lead is quite strong. Why wouldn't it be? It was passed on from his mother, Jane Fonda, uncle Peter, and grandpa Henry. However, they as well as a few smaller roles having this odd, stiff, insecure dialect, where they slack their jaws to one side, stiffen their gestures, and even don some sort of nasal voice.

However, Soldier's Girl is quite a strong movie overall, and I suppose it's a testament to the underestimated potential of a Showtime original movie.
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10/10
The most powerful true story I have ever seen……
sassandbide8 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Well I don't know where to start with this. This film was so moving, shocking, powerful, and sad. It made a HUGE impact on me! As someone who lives in the U.K, I only remember hearing brief news reports about the murder of Private Barry Winchell in 1999. It was 2005 when I learned that a film about this had been made.

I have no idea why this film never had a U.K release on DVD, or why it has never been shown on British television. It really deserves to be released over here! I already had a copy of "Boys Don't Cry" – which I found to be a great film, but "Soldier's Girl" was far more powerful indeed! I recently purchased a Region 1 (NTSC) version of the film, and I'm so glad to now own a copy of this little known gem.

There may be a few inconsistencies with actual events (for example Calpernia didn't live in a trailer park), but in general, the film stuck to the truth and handled the subject matter in a brilliant and sensitive manner.

SOLDIER'S GIRL was a made-for-cable (Showtime) U.S film that tells the true story of the relationship between Private Barry Winchell, and a Transgendered nightclub performer "Calpernia Addams". Winchell was a young 22 year old soldier, who was serving at Fort Campbell. There he shares a dorm with Justin Fisher – A loose cannon with several issues in his life.

Fisher one night takes Winchell (and some other fellow soldiers) to a nightclub called "Visions" where Transsexuals perform. He tells Winchell that bringing him there was "a test of character", but whilst Fisher knocks back the beers, he gets in a argument with Winchell, leading to one of the performers (Calpernia) breaking up this disagreement and taking Winchell back stage to clean some beer from his shirt.

Winchell is interested in Calpernia, and after talking to her, asks for her phone number. She gives him it, as she seems genuinely fond of him. Winchell doesn't tell his fellow soldiers what he and Calpernia talked about- or that he has her number.

3-4 days later Winchell telephones Calpernia (who seems a bit surprised that he actually phoned her back), and she invites him to a BBQ at her home later in the week. The two meet up, get along very well. And before long they share their first kiss. Winchell is a straight man, and doesn't see himself as "Gay" since Calpernia is in herself "A Woman" even though she hasn't had full surgery yet. But as their relationship progresses, and news starts to spread around the barracks about Winchell's behaviour (mostly from Fisher), people start to accuse him of being Gay.

Later in the film we see a new soldier joining. He is 17 year old Calvin Glover. Fisher takes no time in winding up Glover by accusing Winchell of being "A Faggot", and telling Glover that someone needs to sort Winchell out.

After getting the young and unstable Glover drunk during the July 4th celebrations, Fisher gives Glover a "Luisville Slugger" – a vintage baseball bat, and tells Glover to sort Winchell out whilst he lies in bed asleep.

I found this to be almost unbearable to look at as Glover beats Winchell over the head several times with the bat. (This was so graphic that you could actually see bits of brain matter all over the wall!) Glover returns to Fishers room covered in Winchell's blood, and at this point Fisher is shocked as to the extent that Glover went to. Winchell was close to death, but still alive after this brutal beating, but no ambulance arrived to take him to hospital for an hour due to the 911 system's being supposedly "down".

When Winchell eventually made it to hospital his injuries were so bad, that his parents asked the doctors to switch off his life support machine.

Glover was sentenced to a lengthy sentence, and Fisher was given a shorter sentence (Fisher has recently been released on parole).

Calpernia Addams had the final stage of her sex reassignment surgery, and is now working in hospital administration in LA.

I would highly recommend this film, as it shows just how cruel we human beings can be, and that everyone deserves love, no matter who they fall in love with.

SOLDIERS'S GIRL, is a truly brilliant film that will have you glued to the television screen for the whole 112 minutes, and will in no doubt leave you shocked and saddened by the end of it.

I feel total hatred towards Glover and Fisher for what they did to an innocent man who did no more that fall in love with someone who's life wasn't called "normal" – Who are we to say what's normal or not! A fantastic film that will stay in my mind for a VERY long time.

10/10
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10/10
"Soldier's Girl" Prestige Film
germany170729 January 2005
Hi, I come from Brunei which is a small island in Borneo.I was born to be gay.I am 35 years old but believe or not i am still single.I grew up in a very strict family and you all can imagine how stressful is my life for being gay.But no regrets at all.

Being gay...sometimes it's difficult to find love.People sometime hard to understand us.We also like normal people who needs to be loved and have a partner.Last two days i went to a video shop trying to find a good movie which can fill my loneliness.So i found this "Soldier's Girl" DVD.Sounds interesting.

To make the story short...WOW...this story is a very very good one i have ever seen.Since the last two days i have bought it,i have watched it more than ten times.I cried all the time when i watched it.It has raised the gay reputation.The actor "Troy Garity"-he played this part very excellent.He should be nominated to become the best actor for this movie.Does his character as the same as in this movie.I wish he was.He could be every gays dream guy.I really love him.

By ending this comments i wish the family of the late"BARRY WINCHELL"you should be proud of your son.He had brought the "GAY" reputation to the high.At the same time brought up your family name to the high too.I respect this family very much.

To Calperina Adams...i wish you all the best.You also has brought the "GAY REPUTATION" to the high.

Best Regards Germany1707@yahoo.com
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10/10
SAD & GRAPHIC
jenandshelby22 April 2004
You really feel like the world would be better if Barry was still alive and Calpurnia and he were still a couple. How happy they were! How disgusting of Fisher and Glover to feel worthy enough to rob Barry of his life. I have been to every web page I could find. Wanted photos, any thing I could find. The movie is forever etched in my mind! I wish I could have known them. I am a straight female, never had tendencies or desires to change my sex or be with anyone but a man, But I love this movie and it made me cry! The graphics were incredible. I was shocked. Brain matter on the wall and ceiling! Oh God, have NO mercy for these two murderers who took a wonderful man from our earth!!
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For it's faults, a very good film.
blackriverfalls24 June 2004
Without knowing the precise details of the actual events that this film is based on, it's difficult to say how faithful it stays to them. If it were fiction I'd have been inclined to critisise it for stereotyping a transgender woman as a nightclub performer, as it is, this part seems to be accurate.

Performances are generally strong, particularly Shawn Hatosy as the dangerously unhinged Justin Fisher. Lee Pace is very good as Calpernia Addams, but I don't see why the part couldn't have been played by a woman, trans or otherwise.

There are a couple of jarring scenes where Winchell and Addams are discussing her military background almost with an attitude of comraderie, and also some uncomfortable (for a non American) reflections on the US military. I also find offensive a notion that the film more than hints at several times (and which is made explicit in the DVD extras) that Winchell was somehow experimenting with his sexuality. If he loved Addams as a woman, this is a non-issue, but the film makers and actors (and Winchell's mother in the extras) don't seem to be able to understand that.

That aside, it's still a good film, and the subject matter is treated as well as we might expect for this point in time.
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