There is a film I want you to remember. FT BLISS. You’ll want to see this.
It’s about a female medic, twice deployed and facing redeployment, who is struggling to win and retain the love of her son, now six years old. But it’s about so much more. Parental roles, female roles in the military, the difficulties faced after returning home fom war, sacrifices, emotional shutdowns, Survivor Guilt.
It was researched, written and directed, brilliantly by Claudia Myers. The cast is accomplished and uniformly excellent. But the lead role, the starring role is portrayed by Michelle Monaghan. Her Maggie is a great character and she is unforgettable. Michelle will do bigger films but this role is iconic. I view her work here as I viewed that of Dana Delany, in CHINA BEACH, who embodied the nurses that cared for us in Vietnam. I told Dana that I so admired her work, that it was never self-indulgent, every ounce of emotion was authentic and earned. Just so with Michelle’s work. It is an emotional film but I never once felt manipulated, every feeling was earned. Michelle and I had met in Toronto this summer, filming PIXELS. I was flattered that she remembered me and grateful for the chance to congratulate her.
I spent ten weeks at Ft Bliss many years ago, learning Vietnamese before deploying as a Military Advisor. My memories are more resonant when I think of the miles driven late at night in my GTO, across the border to New Mexico, where I was dating a Mexican stripper. Is that racist? Jesus, I dunno… just know its the truth. Don’t judge. I was Infantry, Airborne and assigned. Not then expected or expecting to come home whole, if at all
The film was done in 21 days, many characters filming their arcs in ONE or TWO days! Stunning professionalism. It was made for a song with private financing. I am tickled to think of those investors being so handsomely rewarded for their faith in this personal story, told with such craft, truth and heart.
The single regret from tonite- not acknowledging the date. 9-11. Today, many affected Americans are struggling, much like they did in 2002. 13 years later, it still resonates. Sunday September 14th will be the 45th anniversary of a very difficult day in Vietnam in my life. It still resonates. The Soldiers Project exists to treat that pain. Encourage people in your life, still struggling, to reach out. Help exists. http://www.thesoldiersproject.org/
FT BLISS. Go see it when you get the chance. You’ll thank me.