A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998)

Discussion in 'Archive' started by llanes13, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. llanes13

    llanes13 Guest



    Rating: 6.5/10
    Runtime: 127
    Language: English
    Country: France | UK | USA
    Color: Color

    Director: James Ivory
    Kris Kristofferson ... Bill Willis
    Barbara Hershey ... Marcella Willis
    Leelee Sobieski ... Charlotte Anne 'Channe' Willis, Age 14
    Jane Birkin ... Mrs. Fortescue
    Dominique Blanc ... Candida
    Jesse Bradford ... Billy Willis, Age 14
    Harley Cross ... Keith Carter
    Isaach De Bankolé ... Mamadou (as Isaac De Bankole)
    Macha Méril ... Madame Beauvier (as Macha Meril)
    Nathalie Richard ... Mademoiselle Fournier
    Anthony Roth Costanzo ... Francis Fortescue
    Bob Swaim ... Bob Smith
    Virginie Ledoyen ... Billy's Mother
    Luisa Conlon ... Young Charlotte Anne 'Channe' Willis, Age 7
    Samuel Gruen ... Benoit / Young Billy Willis, Age 7

    Description: A SOLDIER’S DAUGHTER NEVER CRIES is based on a novel by Kaylie Jones, daughter of author James Jones (responsible for FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, THE THIN RED LINE and other famous works). Apparently taken from her own experiences growing up under the tutelage of the freethinking Jones and his wife, A SOLDIER’S DAUGHTER is a warm reflection on Kaylie’s early life (though the film is not specifically an autobiography).

    There is very little plot to be found here, as the film is almost entirely grounded in its character arcs and the constant trickle of idiosyncratic people who flow into their lives. The film is ostensibly the story of Channe Willis (Leelee Sobieski), a young girl growing up in 1960’s Paris with her parents Bill (Kris Kristofferson) and Marcella (Barbara Hershey). Expatriates with a dash of artsiness, the couple also adopts a young French boy who takes the name Billy.

    As Channe and Billy grow into their teen years the audience is witness to various rites of passage, some ordinary and some less than ordinary. Their parents’ bohemian outlook on life lends an odd twist to these experiences, and one gets the impression that it was her dad’s openness regarding such matters that allows Channe (or Kaylie) to look back on those often bittersweet times with such honesty.

    As the elder Bill’s health begins to falter, the family returns to the United States where the two teens find it difficult to assimilate into the more traditional lifestyle of American high school. Branded as different because of their Euro inclinations, Billy becomes a loner, laying in front of the TV all day, while Channe seeks acceptance in the arms of boys who are all too quick to turn her away after they get what they want from her. But the kids’ dad is always there for them; ready to heal their wounds with his unique take on the world.

    Bill Willis, as played by Kris Kristofferson, is a pure gem. The foul-mouthed author is a good father but also a good friend to his children, and his relationship with Channe in particular is the most richly textured aspect of the film. Leelee Sobieski (most recently seen in the mini-series JOAN OF ARC) turns in a perfectly understated performance as the maturing Channe. In fact, there’s not a weak link in this cast.

    A SOLDIER’S DAUGHTER comes from the Merchant Ivory filmmaking stable. As is the case with their other films (A ROOM WITH A VIEW, HOWARDS END, THE REMAINS OF THE DAY) James Ivory directs, Ismail Merchant produces, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala handles the screenwriting chores. As always, these filmmakers paint a multi-layered portrait of their characters and the times in which they live.

    Audiences are left with a few dangling plot threads as a result of the film’s tendency to follow the four leads around as the people in their lives come and go. For instance, we never find out what happened to the nanny who cherished Channe as if she were her own daughter. And what about Francis, Channe’s friend who declares his love for her at the same time she announces she will return to America? It could be argued that life is nothing but a bunch of incomplete plot threads, and so A SOLDIER’S DAUGHTER is only ringing true to life on this level as it does on so many others. Still, from a pure storytelling sense, this is an occasionally irritating aspect of the film as these secondary character arcs are as interesting as the rest of the film.
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  2. super771

    super771 Guest

    Thank you very much..

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