Wednesday, 18 May 2016

A soldier's daughter never cries (4 Stars)

"The golden light above you shows me where you're from,
The magic in your eye bewitches all you gaze upon".

This is the fifth film starring Leelee Sobieski, made in 1998 when she was still 15. It's based on the autobiographical novel by Kaylie Jones, in which she calls herself Channe, short for Charlotte Anne.

Channe's family are Americans who live in Paris in the 1960's. Channe's father is an ex-soldier who writes novels about the Second World War. It can be assumed that he's successful as a writer, judging by the size of their apartment and the fact that they have a full time maid living in the house.

When Channe is six her parents adopt a boy called Benoit. They say that his name sounds ridiculous in English, so they call him Billy instead. Couldn't they just have called him Ben? The film then follows Channe's life and loves. In France she's close to a boy in her class called Francis, but her family moves back to America when she's 15. Desperate to find love, Channe sleeps with a number of boys, but she finds that they reject her afterwards.

The film is a well made family drama. Like all films based on true events it doesn't have a clear cut plot with logical milestones. The story winds and turns with random events occurring. As a viewer I almost feel like I'm spying on someone else's life. We grow to know and love Channe through the course of the film. It's a magnificent performance by Leelee Sobieski, who shows a depth of talent way beyond her age.

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