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Frank Stirn (Eric Stoltz) moves with his family to become a barber for the American Army and POW camp at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, in the summer of 1944. Embittered that he cannot fight, Frank must take a stand when a Nazi SS Officer threatens his wife (Kate Connor, playing her real-life grandmother). Her Catholic sister (Lyndsy Fonseca) falls for a Jewish soldier (Andy Hirsch) haunted by the battle of Monte Cassino and the death of his best friend (Matthew Lawrence). Their audacious friend (Camryn Manheim) encourages the couple, while the local priest (Seymour Cassel) cannot. Frank's daughter befriends a German prisoner boy during this magical summer, but war still finds its victims even thousands of miles from the battlefields in rural America.Written by
monterey media inc.
The story is a little simple and sentimental, but I didn't have any expectations. I think the cast does a good job with the material that doesn't have enough time to fully flesh out the characters. Eric Stoltz is good too; I never really understood why he didn't get bigger roles. Maybe, his roles will get a second wind when he doesn't look 13. It's a little bit Leave It To Beaver, so is probably popular with the Christian crowd.
I found the movie randomly on Netflix but I clicked on it because I was a kid on Ft. McCoy as well. There were only about 4 kids on the post in 1978, and I do remember a 1950's purity of living there. We lived so far apart we never saw each other except when a jeep picked us up to take us into the schools in Sparta. The POW fences and towers remained, but it was a ghost town except in the summer when reservists showed up to bomb the ranges into oblivion. Years later, after we left, they would turn the barracks, not the compounds into a camp for Cuban "refugees." The movie captured a certain feel to the place that I liked...beautiful woods, Squaw lake, and some old fashioned values that remained on army posts into the 80's at least. It was a fun place to be a kid but the movie only has time to give you a glimpse of that.
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