Heaven & Earth 1994

Heaven and Earth

Critics Consensus

Heaven & Earth is a well-intentioned glimpse into an underrepresented perspective on Vietnam, but Oliver Stone's solemn storytelling keeps audiences at a fatal distance from Hiep Thi Le's enigmatic heroine.

40%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

70%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,512

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Movie Info

Le Ly (Hiep Thi Le) lives in a small Vietnamese village whose serenity is shattered when war breaks out. Caught between the Viet Cong and the South Vietnamese army, the village is all but destroyed. After being both brutalized and raped, Le Ly resolves to flee. She leaves for the city, surviving desperate situations, but surviving nonetheless. Eventually she meets a U.S. Marine named Steve Butler (Tommy Lee Jones) who treats her kindly and tells her he would like to be married -- maybe to her.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Heaven & Earth

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (12)

Audience Reviews for Heaven & Earth

  • Oct 26, 2012
    Oliver Stone's Heaven & Earth completes his "Vietnam Trilogy" by examining the conflict through a Vietnamese woman, a woman who later marries a US solider and moves away. It's not as compelling on an emotional level as his other two (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July), as it seems to tackle too many themes, and doesn't have a completely focused message. The initial set-up is especially by-the-numbers and familiar, until Tommy Lee Jones's character is introduced, from that point the story takes on a much more interesting direction, with some excellent exchanges by the two actors. Hiep Thi Le's performance is also noteworthy, with a very expressive face that conveys a great deal of emotion. Uneven, but ultimately solid. 3.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 11, 2011
    A much different perspective on the Vietnam War than I'm used to seeing. I appreciated it, but don't know if I would watch the movie again.
    Sarah P Super Reviewer
  • Apr 13, 2010
    Pretty flat and weak. I think Stone was afraid to take risks with this picture since he is dealing with a touchy subject particularly Vietnam. The performances is mediocre and easily forgettable. Hiep Te Li tried her best as Ly Li Hayslip but fails. If anything good is to come of this it would have to be the cinematography handled expertly by Robert Richardson.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 31, 2010
    With Heaven and Earth -- cobbled together from two autobiographical reminiscences (When Heaven and Earth Changed Places and Child of War, Woman of Peace by Le Ly Hayslip -- Oliver Stone completes his self-declared "Vietnam Trilogy" (the other films being Platoon and Born On the Fourth of July) of films examining the Vietnam War from different perspectives. Heaven and Earth begins in the central Vietnamese village of Ky La during the 1950s. Phung Le Ly (Hiep Thi Le) is an innocent peasant girl, helping her mother (Joan Chen) to tend the rice paddies while being lectured in the ways of life by her father (Haing Ngor). The idyllic peace of the village is disrupted when a jet bomber crosses the skies. Soon the village is decimated as the American-backed South Vietnamese government troops and the Viet Cong engage in brutal warfare in which the victims are the innocent villagers. Le Ly is both tortured and raped. She leaves Ky La for Danang for a life as a prostitute. There she meets the tall and craggy American soldier Steve Butler (Tommy Lee Jones), a kind but lonely man who isn't looking for sex but for someone to settle down with -- as he says, "I want an Oriental wife." They marry, and Steve takes her back to the United States, where her in-laws look at her not as a wife but as a pet. In the harsh glare of 1970s U.S. culture, Le Ly has trouble adjusting to the American way of life. But not as hard a time as her husband, who, after twenty years in Vietnam, discovers he cannot adapt to civilian life.
    Martin D Super Reviewer

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