Soldier's Girl

A review of Showtime’s Soldier’s Girl showed up in a local NY newspaper, Newsday:
Soldier’s Girl (Showtime Entertainment, $27) is an astonishing piece of work that might have hit theatrical 10-best lists if it hadn’t been made for Showtime. This heartwrenching true-life tale topped my 2003 TV list, and the American Film Institute named it one of the tube’s 10 best (full disclosure: I was on the institute’s jury). The filmmakers could have gone wrong in so many ways with the story of an ingenuous GI who falls for a transgender woman, then is murdered by fellow soldiers for his unconditional love. But this film goes right every step of the way, focusing into its characters’ hearts and minds rather than on a “message” behind it all.
Director Frank Pierson talks in bonus interview footage about the “difficult and dangerous material.” The actors add insight into defining the simple but not simplistic GI (Troy Garity) and the woman/man he let his heart love (male actor Lee Pace, now on “Wonderfalls”) despite his brain’s bewilderment. Even the man behind the murder (Shawn Hatosy) is given depth and compassion. Other DVD extras reveal Pace’s gender-changing make- up routine, and trace the real-life tale as told by murdered soldier Barry Winchell’s mother, lover Calpernia Addams and the crew that put the project together. Addams joins Pierson, Garrity and scripter Ron Nyswaner (“Philadelphia”) on an emotional commentary track that captures how affecting it was to depict, as Nyswaner puts it, “a love that stepped outside the labels.”