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Coming Home

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Lucia Bozzola
Originating as a project for Jane Fonda's production company, Coming Home took five years to get made, but it was still part of the first wave of Hollywood movies to address the controversial Vietnam War. With the presence of outspoken antiwar activist "Hanoi Jane" as the star, and fellow activist Haskell Wexler behind the camera, Coming Home espoused a clear antiwar stance, personalized through the characters' coming to consciousness over the war's toll. The cinéma vérité shooting style, particularly in the opening scene of vets discussing whether they'd fight again if they were able, enhances the story's intimacy. No one experiences the war the same way, but no one comes away unscathed. Coming Home was praised for its sensitive performances, Jon Voight won the New York Film Critics Circle prize for Best Actor, and it was nominated for eight Oscars, but it was quickly overshadowed by Michael Cimino's more inflammatory Vietnam epic The Deer Hunter. Still, although The Deer Hunter won Best Picture, Fonda and Voight won Best Actress and Best Actor, and Nancy Dowd, Waldo Salt, and Robert C. Jones won an Oscar for their screenplay. By leaving the fighting offscreen and the ending ambiguous, Coming Home potently captured the elusive yet irreversible psychological disruption in the wake of Vietnam. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
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