Soldier's Girl [2003]

Director: Frank Pierson
Stars: Troy Garity, Lee Pace, Andre Braugher, Shawn Hatosy, Philip Eddolls
Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 112 minutes

Cable networks like Showtime are diving into risky material that mainstream movie-makers shy away from--and Soldier's Girl demonstrates the payoff of such risks. Barry Winchell (Troy Garity, Barbershop), new to an infantry base in Tennessee, gets taken to a nightclub for drag performers by an obnoxious fellow soldier, Fisher (Shawn Hatosy, Outside Providence). There he meets Calpernia (Lee Pace), a transgendered performer, and feels an immediate attraction. But as Winchell's relationship with Calpernia develops, his relationship with the repressed Fisher grows dangerous to his career in the military--and possibly to his life. Based on a true story, Soldier's Girl tackles its delicate subject matter directly but respectfully, with compassion and intelligence. Garity, Pace, and Hatosy all turn in compelling, complex performances, steering clear of stereotypes. Director Frank Pierson (screenwriter of Dog Day Afternoon) skillfully avoids easy answers or obvious solutions and was deservedly nominated for an Emmy as a result. --Bret Fetzer

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