6.4/10
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Fort Bliss (2014)

TV-14 | | Drama, War | 1 October 2015 (Israel)
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After returning home from an extended tour in Afghanistan, a decorated U.S. Army medic and single mother struggles to rebuild her relationship with her young son.

Director:

Claudia Myers

Writers:

Claudia Myers (screenplay), Claudia Myers
4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Pablo Schreiber ... Staff Sergeant Donovan
Michelle Monaghan ... Staff Sergeant Maggie Swann
Emmanuelle Chriqui ... Alma
Dash Mihok ... Staff Sergeant Malcolm
Ron Livingston ... Richard
Freddy Rodríguez ... Captain Garver
John Savage ... Mike Swann
Gbenga Akinnagbe ... Sgt. Butcher
Oakes Fegley ... Paul
Manolo Cardona ... Luis
Juan Gabriel Pareja ... Javier
Fahim Fazli ... Afghan Driver
Jacob Browne ... 1st Sgt. Jeff Killens
Michael Sirow ... Sergeant Morrison
Drew Garrett ... Specialist Cook
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Storyline

After returning home from an extended tour in Afghanistan, a decorated U.S. Army medic and single mother struggles to rebuild her relationship with her young son.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

So many expectations

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Turkey | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 2015 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Harc a boldogságért See more »

Filming Locations:

Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,320,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While preparing for her role, Michelle Monaghan job shadowed active duty Army medics. See more »

Quotes

Maggie Swann: I didn't expect you to understand.
Luis: Why not? Because I wasn't there? Because I don't know what it's like?
Maggie Swann: You don't.
Luis: You don't have to be in a war to see people get killed for no reason.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Talking with Chris Hardwick: Michelle Monaghan (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

The Thunderer March
Written by John Philip Sousa
Performed by the First Armored Division Band of Fort Bliss
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Monaghan gives a great performance in an otherwise solid film.
24 December 2014 | by Sergeant_TibbsSee all my reviews

Having sat on the sidelines of various action movies and thrillers, including but not limited to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Source Code, Mission Impossible: III and this year's True Detective, it's great to see Michelle Monaghan lead a good meaty drama. It's a premise also explored this year with Clint Eastwood's American Sniper but arguably one more interesting through a mother's eyes.

Returning home from duty, medic Maggie Swann (Monaghan) finds herself replaced in her son's eyes by her (Ron Livingston in a good small role) ex-husband's new wife (Emmanuelle Chriqui). As a result of her frequent absences, he doesn't even recognize her. Taking custody back from her ex, she tries to reinstate herself as her son's mother, starting their relationship with a fresh slate. Fort Bliss captures the anxiety of the fact that we can get to a point where we can no longer catch up, no matter how close we should be.

Maggie thrives in service more than motherhood. She's not a bad mother by all means, but sometimes she simply lacks the patience. Monaghan plays it stern but sensitive, holding her cards close to her chest only revealing aspects of herself when necessary. It's a very controlled and layered performance that shows what she can do when given the leading opportunity.

I just wish the kid actor, Oakes Fegley, wasn't so unbearable. Sure, the kid is a brat, that's the point, but it's near intolerable. His performance is not well measured, or guided by writer/director Claudia Myers into a passable unrestrained performance like Noah Wiseman in this years The Babadook. The film hinges on the kid and as he lacks charisma the goal of bonding with him is not an enticing one.

The plot glides perhaps a little too smoothly, though it is very character orientated. For instance, Maggie suggests whether her son wants a bigger room to run around in and the next minute they've moved house. The writing often lacks a sensitivity to consequence when the tone of the performances and photography suggest otherwise. It could have benefited from a lot more focus as assorted characters and flashbacks drift in and out of Maggie's life without enough development to justify their prominence.

Although it needed various trimmings, the power of its main ideas remains stark. Besides the idea of losing touch with those you should be closest to, it subverts the mother and father role in this context, questioning why when men have to work it's fine yet when women have to it means they're a bad mother. It puts you in a very interesting, if justifiably confrontational perspective. The film isn't all agenda driven arguments with a few tense Hurt Locker style passages to reveal more about the why of Maggie.

Combined with the great performances, it has an appropriately desert bleached and subdued shaky-cam cinematography mixed with a Gustavo Santaolalla-esque score to give it a rugged aesthetic.Fort Bliss is an often intimate and involving film, but it doesn't offer enough to be completely satisfying unless you relate to it in a very specific way. But this is the Monaghan show and it's is essential viewing for any fans of her work so far. If only she could get some kind of awards traction, it would be thoroughly deserved.

7/10

Read more @ The Awards Circuit (http://www.awardscircuit.com/)


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