The military has long had rules against
allowed in the service.
Clinton tried to get those rules changed, the compromise that was
known as "don't ask don't tell" policy.
Homosexual acts were still against the rules, but superiors
longer ask a subordinate if he was gay, and as long as the solider
anyone, he would be able to stay in the military.
policy has been criticized from many
quarters, but it is still in place.
While A Soldier's Girl
doesn't comment directly on the "don't ask, don't
tell" policy, it does play a part in the movie.
Based on a true story, this movie looks at the relationship a
enlisted man has with a pre-op transsexual.
Barry Winchell (Troy Garity) is a young army private who has
been newly assigned to the airborne infantry.
His roommate is Justin Fisher (Shawn Hatosy,) a mercurial
who becomes Barry's friend, is given to mood swings.
A group of men from the base go carousing in
town and end up at a club that features acts by female impersonators.
At the club Barry meets Calpernia Addams (Lee
Pace,) a very attractive pre-op transgender individual.
The two talk, and Barry is attracted to
She is a calm and gentle and
caring, the opposite of the people he meets in his military career.
Barry starts to call Calpernia on the
They become friends and
eventually, more than friends.
hides his relationship from the men at the barracks, of course, but the
start to fly.
Fisher is appalled at the
thought of a homosexual in his unit, and can't just let that go.
The script to this movie is very good.
story of young love is told in a low key
fashion that suits the material.
would be easy to make this into a sensationalistic movie, but isn't.
The transgender Calpernia is treated very
evenhandedly, she is neither glorified nor ridiculed.
The relationship between Barry and Calpernia is
shown very compassionately, never becoming judgmental.
The quite and gentle romance sequences are offset by life on
the army base. The rumors about Barry and his relationship with the
Fisher add a good dose of drama that gives the movie a sense of
especially if you recall the actual events and know how the story is
The creators are able to tell this
story of hate and intolerance without becoming preachy and heavy handed.
There is a good amount of ambiguity.
not crystal clear why Barry calls
Calpernia after he sees her in the club, or why he gets involved with
Fisher's possible homosexual
also hinted at, but only in the most uncertain of terms.
This vagueness is refreshing.
many movies go out of their way to make
sure every plot point is crystal clear.
But things are often not black and white in real life, and this
so much more interesting because you have to wonder about people's
The entire cast was superb.
Troy Garity and Lee Pace were excellent as the two lovers,
characters dignity and vulnerability.
Through their acting you could see how the two very different
could be attracted to each other.
standout actor though was Shawn Hatosy as Justin Fisher.
His performance was stellar, showing all
sides of Barry roommate.
alternately cruel and kind, a bully and a good friend.
Hatosy was able to fold these contradictory
traits into one person and bring him to life.
This moving film was well made and wasn't too heavy
handed. It is a touching and honest look
at an unconventional relationship.