War At Home, The
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2

The devastating effects of war on one young man create family tension in this drama set in Arlington, Texas, in 1972. Emilio Estevez, who also directs the movie, plays Jeremy Collier, who has returned to his family home following a tour of duty in Vietnam. His father Bob (Martin Sheen), a car dealer, and mother Maurine (Kathy Bates), along with younger sister Karen (Kimberly Williams), try to make Jeremy feel like a part of the family again. But he's haunted by memories of the battlefield, and often in Jeremy's mind his tranquil neighborhood becomes the war-torn jungles of southeast Asia. He chooses to keep his problems to himself, which particularly frustrates his mother, who just wants her family to be happy again as they prepare for a Thanksgiving celebration. Frequent conflicts erupt as everyone tries to reach out to Jeremy, but his personality has apparently made an irreversible change. THE WAR AT HOME has plenty of dramatic impact, particularly when Jeremy makes a stunning revelation that tears the family apart. Kathy Bates is very effective as the concerned mother who, with the best of intentions, manages to totally annoy and alienate her son. But because Jeremy is so uncommunicative about his experiences, the audience will often feel as frustrated as his family and distressed by a downbeat conclusion.

Jeremy's flashbacks to Vietnam are typical battlefield sequences, with explosions and gunfire injuring some soldiers. Most of this violence is not excessive, but in one harrowing scene Jeremy executes a Vietnamese prisoner with a graphic shot through the head that is shown twice from different camera angles. As Jeremy's rage escalates, he eventually lashes out at his family, particularly his mother, with many obscenities. While Maurine is a Christian woman who enjoys singing hymns as she works around the house, Bob often uses profanities to express his anger. Otherwise devoid of offensive material, THE WAR AT HOME could have easily retained its dramatic impact without including the frequent foul language.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Distributor: Buena Vista (Touchstone / Disney), 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

Crude Language: Many (26) times Mild 18, Moderate 8
Obscene Language: Many (28) times - F-word 19, s-word 6, other 3
Profanity: Many (25) times - Regular 18 (G-d 14, G 3, C 1), Exclamatory 7
Violence: Few times Moderate and Severe (battlefield scenes with explosions and gunfire, man shot through head at close range, accident with carving knife, mother slaps son, father throws son out of house)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Alcohol drinking
Other: Woman sings Christian hymns around house
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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