Missing in America (2005) Poster

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Powerful Film
Ray Bernard23 September 2005
This film is really worth seeing. I saw it yesterday at the opening night of the International Diversity Film Market in D.C. Danny Glover introduced the film, and the producer/director Gabrielle Savage Dockterman plus actors Linda Hamilton and Zoë Weizenbaum held a Q&A session after the screening. (Mr. Glover had to leave to travel for an early morning shoot.) Judging from the many audience comments, the film had the same kind of impact on others as it did on me.

The acting is superb, which is important, because part of the film's impact stems from the realism of the characters. Within minutes your heart is captured by Lenny (Miss Weizenbaum's character), a darling young half Vietmanese girl whose American father is dying of lung cancer. The story deals with the multitude of issues that war veterans have to struggle with, and does so within a heartwarming and sometimes comedic--but always realistic--context. It is a story of healing, but with a plot has some surprising twists.

The original story has great personal meaning for the former green beret who wrote it, as well as for Mr. Glover and many others who were involved in the production. Whether or not you know anyone who has a similarity to any of the story's characters, you are bound to be touched by this movie. My wife and I both thoroughly enjoyed the film.

It is not a "feel good" film, but is very much a "feel right" film. This production more than does justice to the story and its important messages.
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A powerful film about Vietnam veterans
kalyx1 June 2005
I had the privilege of seeing this film at the Seattle International Film Festival on Memorial Day and I couldn't have selected more suitable film for the occasion.

In Missing in America, Jake (Danny Glover) is surprised by a fellow ex-Vietnam war vet (David Strathairn) who unexpectedly leaves his half-Vietnamese little girl with Jake to care for. The film follows the emotionally wounded vet as he grows attached to the little girl, played superbly by Zoe Weizenbaun, who will be in the upcoming Memoirs of a Geisha.

Danny Glover's Jake is familiar territory for the actor as Jake is an independent survivor who lives alone in a shack in the woods and is more than a little disagreeable. He drives into to town periodically to buy supplies from Kate (Linda Hamilton) with money made from selling chopped wood. Jake doesn't immediately take to the little girl, Lenny, that is left in his care, but as Jake's character warms up to his new housemate, this film could have become a sweet film about a wounded man who is changed forever by the child in his life, but Missing in America doesn't travel down that path. Instead, it used the arrival of a half-Vietnamese child as a catalyst that allows for the exploration into the lives of the mysterious war veterans that live solitary lives in the woods, not able to forget the horrors they experienced in Vietnam. In Lenny's explorations into the woods, she meets their neighbors, some, like Red (Ron Perlman), are still living as if they are in a war zone and see Lenny as a painful reminder of a war that while being 40 years in the past, still impacts their lives on a daily basis.

Missing in America is a very amazing first feature for director Gabrielle Savage Dockterman. This was a very courageous and sometimes gut wrenching film that feels like a very authentic snapshot of life 40 years after the Vietnam war for some veterans.
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This is an important movie to get in distribution
jogliore31 May 2005
My wife and I just saw this movie at The Seattle Film Festival. It is outstanding. There are some minor flaws but this movie needs to get into nationwide distribution. The only way that will happen is if people that read IMDb ask for it. Danny Glover should be nominated for an Oscar and the little girl is a real possibility for a supporting actress nomination. This movie tells an important story about how this country has ignored the plight of mentally disturbed Vietnam veterans (get ready in twenty years for the same thing with Iraq veterans). It is too bad that intelligently made movies have trouble getting distributed while some much crapola does. Please contact your local film distributor and ask that they show this film.
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Excellent cast, script
Ricetwodogs29 May 2005
I was lucky enough to see the film at the Seattle International Film Festival(SIFF) on May 28, 2005. Danny Glover and the rest of the cast did a superb job portraying these wounded human beings. I think the time is right for a film to discuss the long-term effects on Veterans and their families. Just because a conflict is over doesn't mean that those people affected aren't still experiencing its horrors. The directing, cinematography and script along with the acting, in my opinion, makes this film worthy of a national viewing. Danny Glover, Linda Hamilton, and Ron Perlman's performances were believable and memorable. The young girl in the movie did a great job for her first film. Also, at SIFF the writers of the script stated that the characters in the film are based on real characters in the Northwest. While watching the film, I found some of the behaviors of the characters not realistic, such as dropping food off for people living in the wilderness; however, that information was stated to be true by the lead script writer. I hope that this film will get national distribution. There is definitely an audience for it.
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Powerful, Sensitive and an Extraordinary Film
kerrorize25 September 2005
This is a powerful, beautifully crafted and superbly acted film. I wept as did the friends sitting at my sides. Yet there was humor along with the tragedy expressed with so much depth of relationships, so genuine you felt you knew these people.

Appropriate in it's timing, with the subject matter of what happens to those who have fought for our country and are left to survive their ordeal. This is a film of our time and of the ages. One which should be seen by mothers and sons, fathers and daughters and especially those who irresponsibly choose to send our children off into wars for power or righteousness. Those who choose to spend more money on the latest, greatest new weapons and ignore the effects of the old ones.

The directorial debut by Gabrielle Savage Docketerman was masterful. Danny Glover and Linda Hamilton show true life chemistry and Oscar quality performances, all to be out shined by the young and very talented Zoe Weizenbaum.
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Well conceived, compelling and heart rending film
ssilbey30 July 2005
I saw this film at the Woods Hole Film Festival in Falmouth MA. It is a first rate exploration of the long lasting damage from the Viet Nam war. This is the story of a Viet Nam vet living in the NW woods, isolated, alone and desirous of remaining so. One of the men from his troop shows up 30 years later, depositing his half-Vietnamese child and disrupting the vet's carefully orchestrated remove from the world. The child becomes, as expected, the catalyst for healing and renewal. So much for the conventional plot. What is unconventional is the depth of emotion, as well as honesty of the writing and the performances. This is a completely absorbing film that seduces and transfixes the audience with its strong but gentle sentiments. This should get a first run in theaters, and perhaps some nominations for writing, acting and cinematography. Danny Glover is perfect; Zoe Weizenbaum is a young woman to watch. An unforgettable film. Its images and story stay with you.
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Missing in America a must see - Zoe and Danny amazing
tgardner-413 November 2005
I just saw Zoe Weizenbaum with Danny Glover in "Missing in America." It was featured at the Northampton Independent Film Festival, which presented Zoe with the best new actress award. The film is an actor's film. Danny Glover's best performance since To Sleep With Anger. But Zoe is amazing in her first movie part, playing an Amero-Vietnamese girl who is left with a Vietnam Vet, played by Glover. It is a disturbing film about the effects of war on many of my generation, and there were some very appreciative Vietnam vets in the audience. Zoe lives in nearby Amherst and discussed her role after the screening. One of the vets handed her a letter he had written his Mom from Vietnam. He had the same nickname in Nam as one of the characters in the film, Dink, which comes from the Vietnamese term for "crazy." You could tell the film meant a lot to him. While the film reminds us of the ongoing personal damage of the combat experience, it is also a healing film, and Zoe carries the healing power of a child's innocence with subtle grace throughout the film. Everyone should see this film.

Tom Gardner Amherst, MA
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An excellent film
fpiiiesq22 July 2005
I was invited to a screening in New York City recently and thoroughly enjoyed this film. Mr. Glover's and Zoe Weizenbaum's performances were superb. The locations in the movie were some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen and the photography and lighting was breathtaking. The story is well-paced and and the supporting characters were interesting and well acted. Mr. Perlman artfully conveys much emotion through his character without speaking a word. This movie really is a powerful, and sometimes gut-wrenching, examination of the lasting effects of the Vietnam conflict on those who experienced the war.
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A disenfranchised Viet Nam vet is forced to confront his own demons while trying to care for his buddy's daughter.
abburnham4 August 2005
I loved this movie. I hope everyone across America has the opportunity to see it. It had such depth- we're still talking about the thought-provoking issues raised. The topic is very timely. Anyone who has been in the military, or knows a veteran should relate to it. Especially post 9/11 and into Iraq, there has been more attention given to the Viet Nam war. The acting was terrific. I had only seen Danny Glover in action roles. He captured the character of a tormented loner amazingly well. The little girl is a treasure. Linda Hamilton is very believable as a tough Alaskan widow. The scenery is spectacular. I'd love to see it again, and have told dozens of friends and coworkers they need to see it when it comes out.
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"Missing" is a must see as part of the continued healing from Viet Nam
archiecm26 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I really hope lots of people get to see "Missing in America." It's a well-told story that uncovers some of the aftereffects of that mistaken military tragedy. War-is-Tragedy has been said before, but obviously, not often enough and this film says it in a new way. Through Jake (Danny Glover), a hermit vet whose pain from the war is under layers and layers of scar tissue, we understand how painful war is and how wrong battles can go. From seeing his near-total withdrawal and through flashbacks we learn that good men and innocent women and children were killed for what amounted to nothing. The North won.

Jake takes in (reluctantly) a wonderful half-Vietnamese girl(played by Zoe Weizenbaum). He snaps at her but mostly she holds her own and eventually melts his heart along with the hearts of some other GI hermits. The fights and the heart connections between Jake and the girl are so smooth and jaw-dropping real that you don't even know you're in a theater.

I think the ending of this movie is partly what makes it a great film but it is an unexpected turn of events and you should probably stop here and just go see the film if you want to be surprised. After viewing come back to read that: The sad ending is part of how the film screams for more healing to be done. More crying. So many people were scarred. The ending gives you the result of what happens when you ignore the pain and damage that this war has done. And aren't we in another war that is also like a civil war and is also being waged by leadership that has made no effort to understand the culture and ideology of the "combatants?" Perhaps not grieving Viet Nam has just come back to take another serious bite out of our hearts and souls. "Condemned to repeat it," . . . and all that.
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Touching, effective film
otac-131 July 2005
I saw Missing in America at the Woods Hole Film Festival this past weekend. Danny Glover gives his finest dramatic performance ever in this role. Zoe Weizenbaum gives an outstanding premiere performance, standing up well to Glover and evidencing a lot of natural ability. The rest of the cast blends well. The location is beautiful, shot in British Columbia...The film is especially poignant, reminding us of the trauma that the Vietnam War inflicted on its participants and raising questions about what might be coming as soldiers return from places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

I hope this film makes a theatrical release...I think a lot of people would like to see it.

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Outstanding efforts by all involved!
flatcat-19 October 2005
I watched Missing In America at the screening in Bozeman, Montana. What a terrific movie! Hats off to everyone - especially Gabrielle Savage Dockterman! What an explosive piece for a first time try! And little Zoe Weizenbaum, for her first time acting in front of a camera. Obviously, these two are destined for great things.

I especially appreciate the sensitivity used by everyone involved in producing this film. It is a subject matter that has been discussed and portrayed readily, but never with so much passion, understanding, realism and class. The lack of heavy profanity and sex was so refreshing. Perhaps other producers will take note that exceptional films can be absent of smut. This is a must see for everyone, especially families! The subject matter is very timely with our involvement in Iraq. America deserves to have this film in the theaters to help us all understand the effects of ill-fought, misunderstood wars and to give us faith that even the hard-core victims of war can be reformed if they are given the right chance.

Attention to detail in this film was very impressive. All in all, I can't say enough good about it. Let's get it to the movie theaters!!!
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Good movie - downer ending
imdb-1418827 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the better movies exploring the lives of Vietnam veterans still struggling with life after the war. Very timely when you think about the thousands of Iraqi vets who will be the next generation of forgotten heroes. Fantastic acting by Danny Glover and Zoe Weizenbaum (I hope we see more of her in the future). The plot is a little weak but very engaging. The running time is surprisingly short at 105 minutes. There was lots of unexplored territory in the plot (the relationship between Glover and Linda Hamilton's character, the potential search for his son) but perhaps keeping the plot simple is part of the appeal. I would have rated it higher but the ending was a big letdown. I don't mind sad endings as long as it feels like it's part of a greater message.
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A fine and very timely and important film.
tkavanau13 August 2005
I think Danny Glover does a terrific job in this movie, arguably the best performance of his career. It is also a credit to him that he was willing to work in this producer's first film. A famous name in motion pictures, Glover could not have been certain 'Missing In America' would get national distribution. I hope it does because it is important for us to see, as is very well shown in this film, the psychological damage negative public attitudes toward our veterans can have, especially since we are once again in a very controversial war. I especially appreciated Ken Kelch's cinematography. His moody exteriors and interiors perfectly reflected the feelings of the Vietnam veterans portrayed in the film. It is worth noting that Kelch himself was a soldier in the Vietnam War, an officer leading troops deep behind the enemy lines. It was a wise choice to have someone skilled in photography and knowledgeable about the war and its veterans to photograph this very moving and important motion picture.
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My Opinion on Missing In America-a MUST SEE FILM
Robinla621 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I saw Missing In America and I feel everyone should see it. I saw it at a special screening with some friends and we couldn't stop talking about it after it was over. It's one of those movies that keep you seated in your chair after the movie is finished. You can't help but want to talk about it. Throughout the movie, I looked around and I saw tears in peoples' eyes. I think Missing In America touches everyone's hearts because Vietnam Vets are always around us reminding us of the sacrifice they made. I would definitely recommend that everyone see this film. It will bring tears to your eyes as well as give you another perspective of Vietnam Vets and how isolated they felt from society after the war.
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A Sad Story About Losses and Consequences of a War, 07 January 2007, revised:
Claudio Carvalho1 July 2007
The veteran Vietnam lieutenant Jake Neeley (Danny Glover) lives alone in a cabin in the woods and his only contact with the civilization is through the owner of a small store, Kate (Linda Hamilton), who periodically supplies his provisions. The solitary Jake helps other lonely veterans that live in the forest giving them part of his supplies and receiving wood in return. When Jake is visited by the former private of his platoon Henry R. Hocknell (David Strathairn), who has lung cancer, Henry asks him to raise his Vietnamese daughter Lenny Hocknell (Zoë Weizenbaum). The widow Henry has no family and he will be subjected to a severe treatment of cancer. The reluctant Jake says no, but Henry leaves his daughter and vanishes. Along his contact with the young girl, Jake improves his behavior until a tragedy happens.

"Missing in America" is a sad story about losses and consequences of a war in the life of the survivors. Danny Glover and the débutant Zoë Weizenbaum have great performances in this tragic film. It is very impressive also the memorial wall in Washington shown in the end of the film, with thousands of names of soldiers that died in Vietnam. Considering that this percentage is very small when comparing with the deaths of Vietnamese (see Obs.), and recalling the deaths of Americans and Iraqi in the recent invasion, I guess what would be necessary to make people live in peace in the world and stop killing each other. Each one of these names has a family that misses the loss of the beloved relative. This movie also shows that the aftermath of a war leaves deep scars even in the survivors, losers or winners. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Cicatrizes da Guerra" ("Scars of the War")

Obs: 1) "The Vietnam War cost the United States 58000 lives." (http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/modules/vietnam/index.cfm).

2) "Documents declassified by the Vietnamese government in 1995, revealed that 5.1 million people, died during the Hanoi's conflict with the United States. Four million civilians died in both the North and South. Total military casualties were put at 1.1 million and 600,000 wounded. Hanoi concealed the figures during the war to avoid demoralizing the population." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War).
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Amazing movie
rjeven20 October 2007
Probably one of the best movies I have seen in a long time, I didn't want it to end. It has so many good things about it I can't even start. It is a must see. Danny Glover was awesome as usual. The little girl was not only cute but acted very well. The plot was different it wasn't your normal good guy wins and everybody is all smiles in the end. The scenery was awesome as well, it was a well filmed movie. Didn't much care for the very end but I'll still give it a 10. I have to admit it mad me tear up a few times and I hate cry babies. If you get a chance watch this movie. It is a movie I would for sure watch again. Can't believe I just found out about it go rent it or do what I did after I seen it BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Great Movie
rjsaettone4 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie and I couldn't believe how much I cried. This is such an emotional movie. Unbelievable. I usually don't cry but this movie had me next to sobbing. Great for a movie-goer or the whole family. I honestly think that anyone with any form of love in their heart should see this movie. I just saw this movie tonight actually. 8/4/07. I had tears streaming down my face. But you don't want to hear about how much I cried.

There is a problem, though. What the screenwriters did to the little girl named Lenny is cruel, in my head anyway. It added so much to the drama. Danny Glover does an absolutely wonderful job. The film deserves a much higher score than it was given. The actress playing Lenny did a great job too. The bottom line is this: One of the best movies I have ever seen.

Thanks for listening.
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Continuing the idiotic saga of crazy Vietnam vets
okieindian12 January 2006
Another disgraceful misrepresentation of Vietnam Vets, put together by a woman producer (male writer must be a real weirdo as well) who gives away her "position" by stating that the vets were MURDERING children. More of the Baby Killer crap. Don't know who's fantasy (the writer or the producer or Mr Glover) was fulfilled by having Linda Hamilton fall in love love with the elderly black crazy Vietnam Vet after peeking at him bathing nude, outdoors in the moonlight. The movie is a slap in the face to every honorable veteran who served in Vietnam, and a crutch for every whining nutcase who wants to blame Vietnam for his shortcomings. There might be a few hundred idiots living as shown here, but insults the millions of Vietnam vets who are living decent and productive lives. The movie had an opportunity to be a great one, good lines, good plot, good acting, but those who put it together used it as a vehicle for their weird political views and lost the story. As a Vietnam Vet I will be sure to tell all my friends about it and my report to them will be "It sucks"...
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The war at home
jotix10023 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The Viet Nam war is still vivid in most of the men that were involved in that conflict. Some of them were scarred for life, to the point they don't want anything to do with the rest of the society, as it's the case with the people one sees in this film.

Jake, a black man living in a small piece of land in what appears to be the Pacific Northwest, keeps to himself. Whenever he needs provisions he goes to Kate's store. Jake and Kate keep their distance. When Henry, a former soldier who was in Viet Nam with Jake, arrives at the small farm, he brings his little girl, Lenny. This man, we learn, is dying of cancer and wants Jake to keep the girl with him.

Lenny, clashes with Jake from the start. She wants her dad, and it's clear that Jake is not that person. Gradually they come to respect one another. Lenny, who is a friendly girl, wants Jake to be more neighborly. When they have a picnic, some of the other veterans living nearby, come to share some of the food and conversation. Red, a man that suffered a wound to his face, is a strange individual who, when he notices Lenny is half Vietnamese, spits in her face.

Gabrielle Savage Dockterman, the director, keeps things moving in this sad tale about people that can't communicate even though they have a great deal of pain in common. Danny Glover makes a good Jake. Linda Hamilton appears as the store owner Kate, who takes an interest in Jake. Ron Perlman is seen as Red, the man still fighting a war in his own turf. Zoe Wizenbaun makes a sweet Lenny and David Strathairn shows only for a couple of pivotal scenes.
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Best movie I've seen all year
Ata-22 January 2006
This is a truly wonderful movie. It surprised the hell out of me. I was all prepared to be bored out of my skull having to sit through one of those "war is bad for you" Hollywood movies. Instead the time flew by and I found myself deeply touched.

Danny Glover plays a Vietnam war veteran hiding away from the world whose life, and the lives of those around him, gets transformed by a young Vietnamese girl (Zoe Weizenbaum) who is left with him by an old army buddy. Linda Hamilton plays a store keeper who is their point of contact with the "real" world. Sounds a bit wishy-washy but believe me its not. There is some kind of comfortable chemistry between Glover, Weizenbaum, and Hamilton that draws you in and makes you really care. Linda Hamilton says more with just the expressions on her face than any number of words. I think of all the movies I have seen Glover and Linda Hamlton perform in this is the only one that proves them as truly great. As for Weizenbaum, well I don't know if someone that young can win an Oscar, but I hope so. The rest of the supporting cast were spot on too.

Having said all that, the movie as a whole is flawed by old-fashioned poorly constructed flash-backs and some useless scenes in the middle that could be cut and more scenes added at the end to add more impact. I have the feeling that if a surgeon like Kieslowski made this movie it would end up as a classic. Flawed and yet I gave it 10/10.

In closing my advice is to go see it and tell your friends about it so hopefully it will get distributed more widely.
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Good intentions, bad melodrama
t_deleon14 April 2006
While Missing in America is brimming with "good intentions", i.e. the tale of wounded Vietnam vets, it suffers from horrible and pedestrian script and heavy handed directing. Sure, Danny Glover is wonderful, and David Strathairn stellar in the small appearance, and Zoe Weizenbaum engaging, and Lind Hamilton still good .. but the story is so "hokey" that in many instances we are overcome by uncontrollable guffaws...

Too bad, because it could have been an endearing story, but it's amateur city...the worst of the lot is when - out of nowhere - Linda Hamilton shows up at Donny Glover's doorstep and happens to see him take a "sponge bath" and then she is aroused by his manhood -- and then Glover shows up at her general store and launches a tirade of double-entendre about - mistakenly - action... that are, frankly embarrassing...

The writers should have been retired to greener pastures...

Ergo -- 3 at best...
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Touching, excellent film!
sweetness_kt12 December 2005
I recently saw this film at the Monaco International Film Festival and I was overwhelmed. (the film won Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Emerging Actress at the festival.) It earned all of the awards. What an excellent film! The acting is superb. The reaction at the film festival was incredible.

Gabrielle Savage Dockterman is a brilliant director. Danny Glover's performance was touching and genuine. Linda Hamilton, David Strathairn and Zoe Weizenbaum were truly excellent. This would be excellent as a big studio film, and as an independent film it is just as impressive.

I am impressed that this film took a real stand on violence and collateral damage of war. Everyone should see this film!
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Great Movie
suddenstrike4421 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
i'am a police officer on sick leave because the flu..Watched the movie on showtime,,Great movie up till the little girl getting killed,I was sure hoping she would have made it.. I must say a tear came to my eye when she got killed..I do hope we (The U.S.) have something in place for the Iraq veterans....Great job by all on this movie..We need more like this one...Our veterans are over looked in this day and time,a lot of people see our fighting men and women as not PC but if it was not for them those people would not have the right to say anything...So next time you see one of our fighting men or women in uniform,just walk up and shake his or her hand and say Thank You for serving our country...Because freedom is not free unless someone fights for it..
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Flawed, by very worthwhile
diesixdie12 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I could go on about the various flaws of this movie. There are problems with the screenplay, obvious manipulation of the viewer's emotions, some predictable characterization and plot development, but never mind that.

If I shove all that aside, I still find that I liked all of the major characters, and really cared about them. Danny Glover does a bang-up job. He has his character nailed, dead on. Zoe Weizenbaum is just downright stunning. Even if you're a misanthrope, like me, who can't stand children, you'll find yourself drawn in by her. Linda Hamilton, who we don't seem to see enough of, lately, plays a damaged, but likable storekeeper who pulls it all together. The actor who played "Red", even though he had no dialog, drew me into the horror of his past, in the scene at the cliff. For an instant I felt the pain of having his memories, which have left him twisted and isolated. Thankfully, only for an instant. I confess to having a few tears jerked by this movie. That doesn't happen often.

I find the word "damaged" coming to mind a lot while thinking about this movie. It's true that life has a 100% fatality rate, and hardly anybody reaches their last moment undamaged. Some people, like those who got stuck with the job of being soldiers in Viet Nam, got a lot more damage then some of us luckier ones. This is a movie about damaged people, doing what they can for each other, even when most of society has abandoned them.

I DO agree with a lot of the reviewers, here, that the ending unfolded in an unnecessary way. I can't say more without having to turn on the spoiler flag. I'm probably spoiled, myself, by the standard American cinema's penchant for "feel-good" happy endings, so don't you mind.

Go rent this. See it on cable. It'll provoke a thought, evoke a tear, enrich Blockbuster by about a dollar-ninety-nine and bring you 102 minutes closer to your last moment. A little better for it, maybe?
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