Troy Garrity as Barry Winchell and Lee Pace as Calpernia Adams in Soldier’s Girl.
Soldier’s Girl is based on the true story of Barry Winchell, a 22-year-old soldier who was bludgeoned to death in his sleep by another member of his unit over his relationship with a transgendered nightclub performer, Calpernia Adams. The movie handles both the sex and violence of the story in a very tasteful and intelligent manner. Calpernia and Barry come off as a nice girl and a nice guy trying to find love in a world of haters. Pace’s turn as Calpernia became a breakout role for him.
Most interesting to me was the portrayal of Justin Fisher (Shaun Hatosy), Winchell’s manic, homophobic, and manipulative roommate. The implication of the movie was that Fisher’s latent homosexuality and his jealousy of Winchell’s relationship with Calpernia lead him to arrange Winchell’s murder. You do have to speculate about Fisher’s motives in the course of the story. It’s Fisher, after all, who first takes Winchell and a bunch of his unit buddies to the gay nightclub where Calpernia performs. Is this some kind of backhanded come-on to Winchell or is Fisher looking for some evidence of homosexual attraction among his peeps that he can use to blackmail them with?
The question of what qualities define a man is a subtle, underlying theme through the film.
Frances McDormand as Guinevere Pettigrew and Ciaran Hinds as Joe Bloomfield in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.
If Soldier’s Girl is a man’s story, then Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is definitely a woman’s story. This charming little flick is a homage to the screwball comedies of the 1930s-40s.
Miss Pettigrew (Frances Dormand) is a middle-aged, out of work governess whose employers have found her “too difficult”. Desperate for employment, she poses as a social secretary from the temp agency and shows up on the doorstep of flighty nightclub singer, Delysia LaFosse (Amy Adams). Delysia badly needs a social secretary as she is currently juggling three men: Nick Colderelli (Mark Strong in another bad guy role) as the thuggish owner of the nightclub where she works, Phil Goldman (newcomer Tom Payne), a rich boy impressario whose producing a new musical that Delysia hopes will be her big break, and Michael Pardue (Lee Pace), her poor, but decent accompanist who is in love with her and wants to marry her. In the space of twenty-four hours, Miss Pettigrew helps her new employer find true love and, in the process, finds a new lease on life herself.
The costumes are great and the sets are spectacular. I confess that I covet Delysia’s silver bedroom.