A young girl whose father died in the Vietnam War becomes determined to find out more about him and his experiences.A young girl whose father died in the Vietnam War becomes determined to find out more about him and his experiences.A young girl whose father died in the Vietnam War becomes determined to find out more about him and his experiences.A young girl whose father died in the Vietnam War becomes determined to find out more about him and his experiences.A young girl whose father died in the Vietnam War becomes determined to find out more about him and his experiences.
The other thing I really liked was the final sequence at the Vietnam Memorial. The director and screenwriter realized that they didn't need to spoil it with a lot of philosophical junk about the tragedy of war. They show us using the darkness and slow decent of the wall, the people's reactions, and the characters' reactions. As much as I disliked Sam, I nearly got teary when she climbed up the ladder and kissed her daddy's name. Emmitt's scene where he leaves his awards there with his friends is another great one-hardly any (possibly no) words, simply the act of giving part of his past to his friends who didn't make it back.
I noticed several changes in the movie, and the discussion afterwards showed me more. The most obvious was the structure; the movie is a straight, linear story while the book is a framed story. I don't think the frame wouldn't have worked too well as a film because I don't think most audiences want the bulk of a movie to be a flashback/look back type portrayal. I guess it seems too slow. One of the ones that bothered me the most was the change in Tom's character. In the book Tom has some kind of impotence or relationship problem because of the war. This prevents him from following his lust and taking Sam to bed. In the movie, it is implied that they do sleep together, and that Tom ends the relationship because he feels guilty or because of her age, not because of impotence or relationship issues. Many aspects of the book and storyline are understandably simplified to save time. Thankfully the Agent Orange obsession that Sam has in the book is largely absent in the movie. For example, Sam's two sets of grandparents are combined into her father's parents. She also spends less time with Dawn, and she goes directly from her grandparents' house to the swamp to read Dwayne's diary. We also don't see as much that she's out there to relate to the soldiers; instead she seems more like a little girl camping in her backyard.
This brings me to my final point. Emily Lloyd's performance was annoying. Everything about her-her voice, her accent, her appearance, her actions, the way she ran (especially the way she ran-no trained runner would ever run like that during a race)-was annoying. Sure, part of it was simply because her character is like that. She begs and begs everyone to tell her about Vietnam, but when Emmitt finally does a bit she can't handle it, and she decides (briefly) that she doesn't like her father anymore because of what he did in the war. What did she expect? She just seems naïve and annoying, and that's not a fun combination. However, I must admit, she did make some progress, and at the end of the movie (when she leaves the photo of herself at Dwayne's grave) she has gained an idea of what war was like and the effects it has on veterans.
If you like the movie, you might like the book even more. If you liked the book but haven't seen the movie, watch it simply to see Willis as Emmitt.
- A Box
- May 28, 2000