Andre Braugher, Barry Winchell, Calpernia Addams, crime, Dan Petronijevic, Death, drama, Frank Pierson, Lee Pace, Merwin Mondesir, Mike Realba, Nightclub, Philip Eddolls, romance, Ron Nyswaner, Shawn Hatosy, Showtime, Soldier, Soldier's Girl, Troy Garity, True Story, TV movie
Soldier’s Girl (2003)
To be able to find someone to love you for who you are, as a person, sounds like such a rare thing to begin with. To suggest that such a thing could be confined by race, ethnicity or gender just seems absurd to myself. Though I understand we live within societies that fear what they do not understand and condemn what they deem unacceptable. We (used as a relative term) teach our boys to be strong and not back down; what “being a man” is all about. But whose to say what makes a person anything but that own individual. *And that will be as much of my two cents I’ll throw in*
Private First Class Barry Winchell had joined the Army in 1997. While the film implies that Winchell may have struggled in his training (though I’m sure there’s always periods of adjustment) would be denying the exceptional soldier he was recognized for in his life. An awarded marksman who received three medals and was nominated for soldier of the month. His mother had stated that he had broken up with his girlfriend of four years as well when going into the Army. Two years later he was taken to the Nashville club, “The Connection” where he had first met Calpernia. He asked her out for coffee the next day and they started dating that same week. However Winchell’s roommate started spreading rumors of him having give fellatio to one of the performers at the club when had actually only seen him kissing. Though the harassment began regardless in a relentless manner that finally escalated the fourth of July weekend of that same year. He was hit continuously with a baseball bat, of which was suggested by Justin Fisher, to fellow soldier Calvin Glover. However their emergency system was down and a 45 minute wait for an ambulance turned into him later being taken off of life support when the damage proved too massive to his skull. Fisher was released after 7 years while Glover received a life sentence but will be up for parole next year.
Because it was on a TV budget, the scenes in which blood are involved were a bit hokey but certainly nothing that messed with the story. By the end it was difficult to watch the events of such an emotional scene either way. The musical sequences were perfectly weaved into the story-line with the films great soundtrack. The real Calpernia had stated having danced to every one Lee did as well; a happy coincidence the producers were unaware of. They also show the relationship between Winchell and his roommate Fisher. An obsessive compulsive man with ADD and a cowardly exterior that instigated the attack out of ignorance. Shawn Hatosy played the role to its fulfillment, throwing in certain ad-lib’s showing off his oh so humorous side. But the film made very aware that it was telling a love story in which the politics behind it were to speak for itself.
Several ideas were brought up as far as which way to go about making the story into a film. Those behind it spoke of having endless ideas on where to take it and mentioned at one point of it becoming a small series. Though I couldn’t imagine a better writer for the story other than Ron Nyswaner. The result being two brave Actors that were able to detail in a tragic tale of two people who were lucky enough to find one another. Lee Pace was captivating, elegant and gave an extraordinary debut performance as Calpernia Addams. An almost 4 hour process to transform, he was able to embody the beauty of a drag queen without having to obtain their otherwise well-known attributes. Troy Garity gave a heartfelt and innocent portrayal of a soldier that, whether experimenting or not, choose to have a private life outside of his Army life. Paying the ultimate price for a fellowship he choose to pursue. Garity seemed impervious to the otherwise challenging role and possessed a certain charm to the character. He completely gave himself to the role and it showed in the way he looked and coyly played with Pace. They are undeniably adorable to watch and gave a great voice to the story. This was, above anything else, a love story and beautifully illustrated such from start to finish.