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American writer Bill Willis (Kris Kristofferson) and his wife Marcella (Barbara Hershey) are living in Paris in the 1960’s. They have a young daughter Charlotte Anne, known as Channe (Luisa Conlon & Leelee Sobieski), but decide to adopt a French boy, Benoit, whom they dub Billy (Jesse Bradford). After Billy’s difficult introduction to the family, he and Channe soon become firm friends. Several years later, when Channe is 14, she meets Francis Fortesque (Anthony Roth Costanzo), a flamboyant boy whose dream is to sing in the opera. Through her relationships with the three males in her life (her father, Billy and Francis), Channe struggles with her relationship with her parents, her father’s failing health and the problems of growing up.

"A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries is a truly magnificent film. This tale of a young woman’s growth to maturity develops slowly and the telling is in the nuances, but the result has marvellous richness of texture. Rarely are "growing up" stories handled with the sensitivity James Ivory displays in this film. Although thematically rather different, there are shades of Ivory’s previous film A Room with a View and Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm in the film’s evocation of time and place. Incidentally, the film is loosely based on the life of James Jones, author of The Thin Red Line. Kris Kristofferson has developed into one of the most interesting American actors, as anyone who saw his great turn in Lone Star will testify. Here he gives a reality and vulnerability to a character that could so easily have degenerated into a Hemingway pastiche. Barbara Hershey is also solid in the secondary role of Marcella. But the real revelation is Leelee Sobieski as the older Channe. She brings a depth and complexity to the part that belies her age. Despite the number of male characters in the film, this is really her story; her struggle to find meaning in the maelstrom of adolescence. A Soldier’s Daughter features wonderful cinematography by Jean-Marc Fabre - the beauty of some of the images will literally take your breath away. This is a moving and often brilliant film that works on so many different levels. Don’t miss it."
David Edwards

"Beautifully adapted from the autobiographical novel of the same, here is a deceptively simple work about family, fitting in and growing up within two distinctive societies. It's not a movie about dysfunctional families, lacks the cliches associated with films about adolescence, and takes on a very mature and intelligent approach to the material. This is a beautifully realised work, one of emotive power and richness, complete with some exquisite performances, notably from Kristofferson, who simply shines as the forward-thinking father. This is his most illuminating performance to date, one that has a rare emotional truth. Newcomer Leelee Sobieski is a major find, giving an equally honest and poignant performance as the teenager trying to find herself, while Hershey is, as always, wonderful to watch. Director Ivory has a knack of making period films contemporary, and though this is less period than what we expect from the filmmaker, he avoids the trap of predictability, capturing the period with superb subtlety. A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries is a rich experience, taking simple concepts and breathing life into established themes. Movie making at its very best."
Paul Fischer

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CAST: Kris Kristofferson, Barbara Hershey, Leelee Sobieski, Jane Birkin, Dominique Blank, Jesse Bradford, Virginie Ledoyen, Anthony Roth Costanzo

DIRECTOR: James Ivory

PRODUCER: Ismail Merchant

SCRIPT: James Ivory, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala


EDITOR: Noelle Boisson

MUSIC: Richard Robbins

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jacques Bufnoir, Pat Garner

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 28, 1999


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