After her husband is sent to Vietnam, a woman falls in
love with a paralyzed veteran who's openly against the war.
Coming Home (1978)
Directed by Hal Ashby
Written by Waldo Salt and Robert C. Jones
Starring Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern,
Penelope Milford, Robert Carradine, Robert Ginty
Oscar Wins - Best Actress (Jane Fonda),
Best Actor (Jon Voight), Best Original Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor
(Bruce Dern), Best Supporting Actress (Penelope Milford),
Best Director, Best Film Editing
The fallout from the Vietnam War was catastrophic. Not only was the region and its people damaged beyond belief, but the soldiers who returned alive were never the same again. Unlike previous wars, the Vietnam veterans were often treated with disdain, hostility, and hatred due to public outcry about the war. And that's horrifically unfair. Most of those soldiers were drafted against their will, and had their lives changed forever. Movies like Coming Home are important because they show the side of war that isn't seen on the news or in big, heroic war films. The wounded, the broken, and the unwell. And damn, does this movie have some powerful shit to say.
Sally Hyde (Fonda) says goodbye to her husband Bob (Dern), who is going to the frontlines of Vietnam willingly. Bob is a lifelong soldier who wants to be a hero, and he leaves Sally to wonder if he'll ever come back alive. Feeling useless, Sally decides to volunteer at the veterans' hospital, where she meets Luke Martin (Voight). Luke is a combat vet who is paralyzed from the waist down, and extremely bitter about the war and his condition. Sally befriends Luke, and that friendship deepens into love. Together, they help each other find peace in a crazy world, but when Bob comes back changed and mentally disturbed, Sally has to make a terrible choice. Every moment is fraught with tension and realism, thanks mostly to Ashby's great direction and the four leads' incredible performances.
Coming Home is one of the best anti-war movies I've seen. Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, and Penelope Milford all bring something different to the movie. Grace, pain, love, betrayal, patriotism, individualism, grief, regret, and so much more. This one is a must-see.