It's certainly not a movie I'd recommend if it's your first Civil War movie. Start with a crowd pleaser like Glory instead. The movie has a lot to say about war and peace, but it's hardly a good introduction to anti-war movies. Start with a winner like Hacksaw Ridge instead. This movie isn't in the same league with either of those great war movies. About the only other valid criticisms you could make are: 1) The first 3/4 of the movie is a bit slow moving, and could have been more dramatic. 2) The quality of the sound was a bit lacking, which is unfortunate when the use of dialect already makes the words a bit hard to follow. As other reviewers have said, it's great especially because it's different from most Civil War movies, showing the way a war can tear a country apart almost as much on the home front as it does on the battlefield. But part of the reason I loved it so much is that I find myself in agreement with the film's disparaged "Copperhead." While slavery is unbelievably cruel and inhumane, ending slavery in 1865 just wasn't worth the terribly high cost in blood. Brazil was the last country where slavery was legal in the Western Hemisphere, and they ended it in 1888. So even if the Civil War had never been fought, slavery in the South would almost certainly have ended by then anyway. If America had split into two countries, why would this have been so wrong? This is a controversial point of view -- then and now -- but I was pleased to see it argued with such conviction in a very watchable movie.
An Upstate New York family is torn apart during the American Civil War.
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April 15, 2019