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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 12.5%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 4.69%

1 review, 122 user ratings

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Soldier's Girl
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by EricDSnider

"Passionate, sensual and moving, and maybe a little gay."
4 stars

[SCREENED AT THE 2003 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL] "It may seem bizarre, maybe even sensational," says our narrator in "Soldier's Girl." Up front, she tells us her story is a tragedy. We know, then, that passion will be involved. For in real life -- and this is based on a true story -- it is passion, not calculation, that acts as chief motive for most people's actions.

There is abundant passion in "Soldier's Girl," perceptively written by Ron Nyswaner ("Philadelphia," 1993) and directed by TV-movie director Frank Pierson. Our narrator is Calpernia Addams (Lee Pace), a nightclub dancer born as a man but in the process of becoming a woman. At the point of the film, she is still male from the waist down. She is aware that such anatomical details make her unusual.

And so she is wary when a soldier from the local army base, the simple and sweet Barry Winchell (Troy Garity), takes an interest in her. Does he not know she's really a he? Is it some kind of joke?

Let us talk about Barry Winchell. Thick and muscley, looking like a hairier version of Vin Diesel, Barry is new to the army and, though physically adept, he is ill-suited to the rigors of it. He butts heads immediately with Justin Fisher (Shawn Hatosy), his demanding, obsessive-compulsive roommate, whose own sexual issues are tantalizing left unresolved by the film. Barry is as straight as they come ... but he is drawn to Calpernia, whom he and his buddies meet when they go to a gay bar for a lark. When you find love, as he does with Calpernia -- and here is passion at work -- you don't ask questions. You go for it.

Barry and Calpernia's relationship is explored with great sensuality and sensitivity, not by the other characters in the film, who find it loathsome, but by the filmmakers. Their first kiss is extraordinary, acted without a hint of self-consciousness by two heterosexual actors. (Pace is all-man in real life; Calpernia's breasts are achieved through prosthetics.) Garity and Pace both elicit great sympathy, Garity for his stoicism and simplicity, Pace for the genuine emotion that seems to dance out of his eyes.

Hatosy, often a despicable presence in a film (you will recall hating him in last year's "John Q"), is impressive here, giving depth to what could easily be a one-note character. I am also taken with the fiery performance by Phillip Eddolls as Calvin Glover, a hotheaded, eager-to-impress 17-year-old recruit.

Even if we don't recall the headlines on which the film is based, we get an idea of what will occur early on, and yet the film still surprises us. It has the aura of real life about it, and a certain major event, the tragic one that made this a news item when it occurred in 1999, is caused not by the person we would expect if this were a fictional Hollywood story.

Passion rules the lives of all the major characters. This honest, compelling film avoids the prurient or sensational aspects of the situation and focuses on the people. This makes it, in many ways, a universal story. All of us can identify with someone in the film, whether we like it or not.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/31/03 14:47:37
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
2/01/14 InLoveWithCalpernia-Lee One of the most impressive movie I've ever seen ! And one of my very favourite ! 5 stars
5/01/07 Sharon C Fantastic, moving, emotional, and sad. Should be shown here in the U.K.! 5 stars
11/18/06 mel if you have a pulse and this movie doesnt touch you then you need to just lay down and die 5 stars
8/22/05 Phyllis An amazing love story -- an amazing movie. I was riveted from beginning to end. 5 stars
3/12/05 Dionne This was a wonderful film, I felt the love between them and understood it... 5 stars
1/15/05 RJ An absolutely beautiful love story and a wonderful film, but a heartbreaker. 5 stars
12/06/04 A. Benson it is a sensitive depiction of an unimaginably unusual situation 5 stars
11/02/04 Pam Terribly tragic story but a wonderfully done film! 5 stars
10/07/04 Trudy Heart breaking / eye opener 5 stars
9/10/04 Bethanie It was awesome 5 stars
8/04/04 TheOthersFan made me angry for that poor guy... 5 stars
3/26/04 bikehorn Great film. I've met the real Calpernia and she's great. Must see! 5 stars
2/28/04 Cynthia Trevino Very dramatic 4 stars
2/20/04 John great film 5 stars
2/17/04 Bobby Helfrich It was Great,She is beatiful 5 stars
1/26/04 greg leevy brilliant and unforgettable 5 stars
1/24/04 Colleen This was a fantastic eye-opening film and Troy Garity stole my heart in this movie 5 stars
1/23/04 Jon Boy Very powerful film. Certain to be an award-winner 4 stars
1/23/04 Rick Very Impressive im many ways.... 5 stars
1/02/04 Billy Unflinching, I was glued Look for Troy Garity's powerfully focused performance. 5 stars
12/19/03 Bob Jones Really makes one stop and think...great film 5 stars
12/15/03 Dee A movie with a heart that merely reminds us love is blind. Worth watching once at least. 4 stars
12/08/03 Katina I love the film and I cried at the end! People can be such assholes! Troy Garity is so fine 5 stars
11/10/03 KING EDWARD truly great film.....if your a fucking faggot. i have spoken, homos. peace out. 1 stars
10/08/03 John Real Life...An Excellent Movie..Lee Pace steels the show. 5 stars
9/27/03 shawn who was better singing fever lee pace or beyonce the movie was alright ...beyonce anyway 4 stars
9/26/03 Petie User name: the lord, what you wrote only shows what an ignorant you are, you need therapy ! 5 stars
9/13/03 Henry Tsai Emotionally intense, agony of seeing homophobia still vastly exist in this society. 5 stars
9/12/03 the lord all the reviewers below me should lick old diseased fag balls. i have spoken. 1 stars
9/01/03 Scott This is a movie that everyone should see to open their minds to other lifestyles. 5 stars
8/21/03 Liz I own this movie. I watch it every day and don't get tired of it. Lee Pace is the best! 5 stars
8/19/03 Nereida Martinez i think this is the best movie i have ever seen. 5 stars
8/14/03 Aricka I loved this movie. I cry everytime I watch it, I was so moved by all the actors. 5 stars
8/06/03 Alex Steib A must see, and must own film!! 5 stars
8/03/03 Neogal It's an amazing movie. Lee Pace gives what may be the best performance I've ever seen. 5 stars
8/03/03 Hayley Shannon I love this movie and Troy Garity is an awesome actor in this movie and a total hottie!!!!! 5 stars
7/24/03 clarisa ortiz I Love the film it is my best i see!!!! good job 5 stars
7/13/03 MovieLuvr One of the most amazing movies I've encountered, wonderfully made 5 stars
7/12/03 Mary Mansour really an honest and moving story....wonderfully subtle performance by Lee Pace... 5 stars
7/08/03 Wanda Knight I was so drawn into this film that I immediately had to get on the net and research! 5 stars
7/07/03 Photoroe A true to life tale about "DON'T ASK - DON'T TELL" . 4 stars
7/06/03 john_cord truly ridiculous. 1 stars
7/06/03 Terrance It was stupid & gay as ever!!! 1 stars
7/05/03 CEG An excellent and disturbing look at intolerance in the U.S. Military 4 stars
7/04/03 AJ lee Awesome movie, hits close to home, in more than just one way...i love it 5 stars
7/03/03 terrell nelson such a wondeful movie that encourage other people to see it 5 stars
7/01/03 Rachel I LOVE IT! n the music, i feel for her. best tv movie ive seen in a while 5 stars
7/01/03 jeff carter i loved the film lee pace was wonderfull as well as the picture.I hope it touched the heart 5 stars
6/30/03 Brian As an Active Duty Marine, I know his pain. Such pure truth. 5 stars
6/28/03 sugabear great movie and sound track 5 stars
6/27/03 Sinple10 I was captivated by the soundtrack. Can't find it anywhere. 5 stars
6/26/03 LSA Very authentic and well done; Good acting; Bittersweet reality-based film 5 stars
6/26/03 Cynthia Beautiful, Touching, Sad 5 stars
6/26/03 G Perfectly acted. Garity's innate goodness could not be faked. 5 stars
6/25/03 Marilyn Best movie I've seen in a long time 5 stars
6/25/03 Naomi P. Abraham awesome reality of what gay go through just to be themselves 5 stars
6/25/03 Vicki Northcott-Irvine This is an awesome movie....a must see 5 stars
6/24/03 Rusty I LOVED IT...IT BROUGHT ME TO TEARS!!! 5 stars
6/23/03 Chassity I love the movie and I loved Troy Garity in it especially. 5 stars
6/23/03 Sommer Barnett Exquistely done! 5 stars
6/23/03 L. Laske Wonderfully Done 5 stars
6/22/03 Kiera Passionate, you won't stop crying for hours! 5 stars
6/20/03 Jeff This Movie touched me like no other movie ever has. The Best Ever. 5 stars
6/19/03 Sherri great movie, well-acted, very moving 5 stars
6/17/03 Natasha Touching movie. I loved the soundtrack. 5 stars
6/15/03 cam i know how it feels to love someone passionatly. And the actors in this film pulled it off 5 stars
6/14/03 Howard Weiss Harsh reality of military life;bigotry&ignorance of officers 5 stars
6/14/03 Mardella Costanzo I think Troy was awesome in this role!! 5 stars
6/13/03 Graziella Excellant! Watch it when you can...i is heart-wrenching, be forewarned... 5 stars
6/12/03 T. M. wondeful movie, very shocking 5 stars
6/12/03 Rick heart wrenching 5 stars
6/10/03 Danielle Excellent movie. 5 stars
6/09/03 Jennifer P I thought it was great...I've seen it 3 Times 5 stars
6/08/03 LaMonica This film is Fabulous. It is Heartbreaking and moving. All the actors did a wonderful job. 5 stars
6/08/03 paul deeply touching 5 stars
6/07/03 pat love it love the music 5 stars
6/07/03 ray cooper I think this movie is the best movie i have ever seen it made me a feel so many emotions 5 stars
6/07/03 Tom Main characters you can feel for, and villains you wish would crawl back under their rocks. 5 stars
6/07/03 Christine Beatty One of the best I've ever seen 5 stars
6/06/03 Jon A must see movie!!! 5 stars
6/05/03 Carla Rahman I seen this film and I was blown away. I loved that there could be such a romance. 5 stars
6/05/03 Nikki5021 The movie left you asking WHY, but yet knowing the answer. 5 stars
6/05/03 Lindsey Stewart A film that remained in my thoughts even days after seeing it. I fell in love with Winchel 5 stars
6/04/03 Just a Girl Well put together, engaging, real 5 stars
6/04/03 Joshua Touching; disturbing; cathartic... 5 stars
6/04/03 Lindsey OUTSTANDING!!! 5 stars
6/04/03 Burlington Vermont Wow! A breath of fresh air in the "Land of Bush" 5 stars
6/04/03 Jili Was a great love story that, unfortunately, ended in tragedy. I loved it! 5 stars
6/04/03 Rick Thought provoking... Lee Pace as Calpurnia Addams is amazing 4 stars
6/04/03 Mark Wilson Excellent portrayal of a difficult topic. Very sensitive. 5 stars
6/03/03 Kristi Miller Fort Campbell KY and its soldiers were, in great part, incorrectly portrayed. 1 stars
6/03/03 Joshua J. Bishop I'm a John Wayne Type of guy. But This Made Me Cry Like A Baby. 5 stars
6/03/03 Ty Awesome movie 5 stars
6/03/03 David deeply moving and humane portrayal of transgendered person. 5 stars
6/03/03 Shawna Stone A realistic view of a Transsexual's love & emotions. 5 stars
6/03/03 David M Enjoyed the Film, with the ending wasn't true. 4 stars
6/03/03 Great Movie, it is worth watching with an open mind. 5 stars
6/03/03 J.L. Taylor Breath takeing 5 stars
6/03/03 Gabriel Cohen Lee Pace gives the best performance I've ever seen. 5 stars
6/02/03 christy robinson quite moving 5 stars
6/02/03 Jeff Very incredible account of the tragedy 5 stars
6/02/03 tina markovich it's a great movie. it gives you mixed emotions, sadness, happiness,etc... 5 stars
6/01/03 marvin carnes excellent. 5 stars
5/16/03 peanut A tragic, compelling love story...I sobbed! 5 stars
5/13/03 Gina It was amazing. Although the murder scene was a bit much, the film was mesmerizing 5 stars
4/28/03 Kymberley Totally awesome film about a taboo subject. Very well done and worth a serious look! 5 stars
4/23/03 Christine Beatty Very moving, uplifting at times and, ultimately, a tear-jerker. 5 stars
3/26/03 Laurel Lyle One of the most romantic movies I've ever seen! 5 stars
2/08/03 Susan Weber A truly awesome film--my favorite from Sundance 2003!! 5 stars
2/03/03 Miri Green I have been writting stories, my dream is to became a scriptwritter, where do i send them 2 4 stars
1/29/03 Lindsay Collins Stunning & Sexy 5 stars
1/27/03 Jessica Excellent, poignant movie 5 stars
1/25/03 jaxon a beautiful love story - superbly acted 5 stars
1/24/03 jj Superbly acted, tenderly directed, beautiful film 5 stars
1/24/03 Thom Fillen INCREDIBLE! OPEN YOUR EYES AMERICA! 5 stars
1/23/03 Mr Math Intriguing stuff. Garrity is outstanding. 4 stars
1/23/03 Adam Little Huge fucking reality check about the don't ask don't tell policy and hate crimes. 5 stars
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Directed by
  Frank Pierson

Written by
  Ron Nyswaner

  Troy Garity
  Lee Pace
  André Braugher
  Shawn Hatosy

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