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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The War At Home (1996)

Living at home, a young returning vet (Emilio Estevez) has problems readjusting to peacetime conditions. His father (Martin Sheen) and mother (Kathy Bates) seem oblivious to what he is going through and only his sister (Kimberly Williams, FATHER OF THE BRIDE) seems to understand that there even is a problem. Based on the play HOMEFRONT by James Duff (who also wrote the screenplay) and sensitively directed by Estevez, this is an incredibly moving and potent film, not only about post traumatic stress disorder but a dysfunctional family unable to communicate. Barely released by Touchstone Pictures (a Disney subsidiary) in 1996, the film has attracted a strong following and remains one of the most powerful films dealing with the aftermath of soldiers returning from Viet Nam and adjusting to a society that (at that time) doesn't comprehend the emotional stress they went through. Unlike mediocrities like COMING HOME (1978) or BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989), the film doesn't have the liberal pat yourself on the back taint. This one comes from the heart. Estevez's assured direction disguises the film's theatrical origins even though it is heavily driven by dialogue. A real heartbreaker of a film. With Carla Gugino, Geoffrey Blake and Penelope Allen.

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