This is the first of two reviews that are part of the Christmas in July Blogathon being run by Drew over at Drew’s Movie Reviews. Tnx Drew!
“I’m not exactly sure what country we’re in. Could be Belgium, Luxembourg, France, or even Germany. I don’t know what day it is. I have no watch, so I don’t know what time it is. I’m not even sure of my name. The next thing you know, they’ll be making me a general. ” – Will Knott
Number of Times Seen – At least 5 times (Theater in ’92, video, cable, DVD and 12 Jul 2016)
Brief Synopsis – During WWII, a small unit of American soldiers encounter a band of German soldiers and both sides attempt to call a truce over Christmas.
My Take on it – When thinking of a movie that helps bring out the holiday spirit and feeling, one usually doesn’t think of a war movie, but that is exactly what I chose as my first (of two) picks for this year’s entries.
I came across this gem of a film over twenty years ago and have enjoyed watching it and learning from it each and every time.
As with many war dramas, this film is actually an anti-war drama where we learn from the characters why war is bad for everyone involved and that no matter the situation, we should seek peace with our enemies while trying to find something in common in them at the same time.
Similar to the movie Joyeax Noel (2005), this film takes place on the front lines in Europe (different war tho) and the soldiers must decide what to do when Christmas comes around and their ideas of peace and good will towards all men create a sense of yearning towards the comforts and happiness of home during the holidays.
The soldiers slowly realize that the German soldiers they are fighting have similar aspirations for the holiday period and a truce of sorts is suggested between the warring sides.
I obviously don’t want to give away the whole movie, but the holiday spirit is constantly in the air and we get to see into the true hearts of ordinary men faced with war.
The cast is superb here and the 6 main characters are all played by (now) famous actors – Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinese, Frank Whalley, Peter Berg, Arye Gross and Kevin Dillon.
Loved the way that Hawke narrated the story because he was able to give us so much insight into many of the characters, their chosen nicknames and the reasons for how and why they all act the way they do.
As I stated previously, this may not be the regular kind of film one would normally choose to watch around Christmas, but the themes and actions presented really show the true spirit of holidays no matter your religion.
Bottom Line – Great premise that really resonates the holiday message and spirit. Excellent cast populated with 6 up and coming actors (at the time). Loved the way that they had Hawke narrate the story. Amazing (anti-) war film that works on so many levels! Highly Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Film debut of Gary Sinese. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)
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