First Lady Michelle Obama told a panel discussion Monday that we should pay more attention to military families in our entertainment. Sharing the stage with the wife of an Army officer, a National Guard pilot and a retired soldier, Obama told a crowd of actors, writers, directors and producers unions “that when our country goes to war, we have families that are serving right along with them.”
Looking at some old and new movies that focus on military families, I can see how it’d be difficult to want to portray them. Some aren’t very uplifting because they showcase the realities of that life. Here are 5 movies that reflect military families:
- Little Women: During Post-Civil War America, the March sisters make due with their father fighting the war. They struggle, but survive with the support of one another. Review: This is probably the most positive story of a military family I have seen. Sweet and warm, it’s worth watching.
- Cold Mountain: In the waning days of the Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey to reunite with his sweetheart. Review: This film was great in portraying the hardship of the soldier and the family left behind.
- Stop-Loss: A veteran returns from his completed tour in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to duty by the Army. Review: A hard film to watch that shows the conflict some soldiers encounter about returning to battle.
- The Lucky Ones: The story revolves around three soldiers who return from the Iraq War after suffering injuries and learn that life has moved on without them. Review: The alienation returning soldiers meet is evident. Heart-warming in that we see they will always have their fellow comrades.
- Brothers: A young man comforts his older brother’s wife and children after he is pronounced dead in Afghanistan, but later returns. Review: Affecting drama. It’s not a feel-good film by any means, but the extent soldiers are pushed while serving our country is made evident.
It can be painful to watch these films, especially if you’re part of a military family. Though it might help to see characters on the screen going through similar situations. The best tribute to our troops I’ve seen was Stephen Colbert’s salute to the troops, “Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando” in 2009. He touted a camo suit, got a military buzz cut and joked with the crowd of soldiers:
“It must be nice in Iraq, because some of you keep coming back again and again,” Colbert said, joking about the multiple tours many troops have had in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. Some troops had accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to earn them a free ticket to Afghanistan, he joked.
I agree with Michelle Obama that Hollywood should be more mindful of our military, but the best bet may be laughter through tears.
What do you think?