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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Swing Shift (1984)

During WWII, when America's male population went off to war, its women left the homefront (many for the first time) and worked in defense plants to help the war effort. When the war was over, nothing would ever be the same again. SWING SHIFT follows a young wife (Goldie Hawn) whose husband (Ed Harris) is in the navy and how she changes during the war years. Directed by Joanthan Demme (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) from an original screenplay by Nancy Dowd (though the screenplay is credited to "Rob Morton"). SWING SHIFT is one of those films where there was a difference of opinion between the star (Hawn) and director (Demme) on what direction the film should take. Hawn won. What we have is good enough that one wishes we could see Demme's cut as I suspect it might be the more satisfying version. It's difficult to empathize with Hawn's character when she spends most of the war years having an affair with a musician (Kurt Russell) while her husband is off risking his life in a word war. It seems odd that her character wouldn't have more guilt, self doubts about what she was doing. In the present film, she just seems to be giving lip service. The premise of the film, that of women experiencing a life outside of the home for the first time only to have it be taken from them when the men return home is a great subject for a movie. This might have been it but it's not. With Oscar nominated Christine Lahti, who steals the movie, Holly Hunter (who has one great scene), Fred Ward, Charles Napier, Sudie Bond and Lisa Pelikan.

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