12 November 2010 | Red-125
A Marine Story (2010) was written and directed by Ned Farr. The film stars Dreya Weber as Alexandra Everett, a recently discharged USMC officer.
Dreya is returning home after her unwilling separation from the military. Not only was she forced to leave the service--which she loves--but she was denied the few months extra enlistment time that would have qualified her for retirement and a pension. All this because she has a lesbian sexual orientation. No one suggests that she actually has had had sexual relations with another female Marine. It's just that the Marines have learned--correctly--that she is a lesbian. (It's interesting that her commanding officer suggests that she engage in an adulterous heterosexual relationship. That's illegal too, but, because it's heterosexual, it would be helpful as evidence that she's not lesbian.)
Enter Paris P. Pickard as Saffron, a sullen young woman who is full of anger and self-loathing. A judge tells Saffron that it's the military or jail, and she arrives at Alexandra's home to prepare herself reluctantly for the military.
The rest of the plot is pretty predictable. Do you think that Saffron will ultimately remain defiant and end up going to jail? Or do you think she'll identify with Alexandra, accept the military mindset, and turn into an incredibly fit and confident ma'am-yes-ma'am Marine? You only get one guess.
The film has its virtues, and apparently audiences love it. Two obvious reasons are Weber and Pickard. We're accustomed to seeing beautiful women on the screen, but not graceful, slender, beautiful muscular women. As one of the presenters pointed out, Paris Pickard's abdominal muscles are themselves worth the price of admission.
Actor Dreya Weber is incredibly lean and fit. She really commands your attention when she's on the screen, and you can believe that she can physically challenge--and defeat--tough rednecks in barroom brawls. It's hard not to enjoy a movie that stars Weber. (Five years ago I wrote a very positive review of her work in The Gymnast.)
The problem for me is the contrast between the way the military treated Alexandra and the way Alexandra reveres the military. If you break the plot down into its basics, Alexandra has been horribly mistreated by the Marines. The Marines have forced out this capable, competent, loyal officer and left her financially bereft, even though she has done nothing wrong.
Does Alexandra respond by telling Saffron that there might be just a few little problems for her if she buys into this authoritarian organization? Ma'am, no ma'am! The Marines are great, and Saffron will be lucky if she let's them turn her into a tough, obedient, fighting machine. The disconnect between Alexandra's perception of her military experience, and the reality of that experience, doesn't appear to occur to anyone in the film, but it occurred to me. (This same disconnect is apparent in the documentary, Out of Annapolis, which I also reviewed.)
We saw this movie at the Cinema Theatre as part of the top-notch ImageOut Rochester Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. It will work well on DVD.