In Country (1989)



Critic Consensus: With a slow build to a dramatic conclusion, In Country benefits largely from its strong acting, particularly by Emily Lloyd in the lead role.

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Movie Info

Norman Jewison directed this subdued character study of the effect of the Vietnam War on a small-town Kentucky family -- based on the novel by Bobbi Ann Mason. The film centers upon 17-year-old Samantha (Emily Lloyd) who lives in Hopewell, Kentucky with her Uncle Emmett (Bruce Willis), a quiet, laid-back veteran of Vietnam suffering from post-traumatic stress. Samantha's father was killed in Vietnam when he was 19-years-old (almost her age now), and her mother Irene (Joan Allen) has remarried. Samantha finds some old photographs of her father, and she becomes obsessed with finding out more about him. Irene, who has moved to Lexington with her second husband, wants Samantha to move in with them and go to college. But Samantha would rather stay with Uncle Emmett and try to find out more about her father. Her mother is no help, as she tells Samantha, "Honey, I married him four weeks before he left for the war. He was 19. I hardly even remember him." Finally Samantha, Emmett and her grandmother (Peggy Rea) go to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Finding her father's name in the memorial releases cathartic emotions in Samantha and her family.
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video


Emily Lloyd
as Samantha Hughes
Joan Allen
as Irene
Bruce Willis
as Emmett Smith
Peggy Rea
as Mamaw
Judith Ivey
as Anita
Dan Jenkins
as Dwayne
Jim Beaver
as Earl
Ken Jenkins
as Jim Holly
Kim Jones
as Donna
Joe Ross
as Principal
Aaron Michael Lacey
as Billy Knight
Mike Smith
as Veteran at dance
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Critic Reviews for In Country

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (11)

There's a decency about this movie that's almost palpable. It's not trying to pump us up with false jingoism or the sins of the past. Jewison, a Canadian, probably approaches the entire subject with a mediatory mood.

Full Review… | May 7, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

In essence, In Country is a well-turned variation on the quest to find a father that shows up in the folk tales of almost any culture.

Full Review… | May 7, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The scene at the memorial is one of the film's best, but director Jewison fails to find in it anything close to the level of emotional force that the same scene in Mason's book has.

Full Review… | May 7, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

This is no tribute to the war dead, but an unthinking betrayal of them -- they've been drafted again, this time to supply a climax to a second-rate tearjerker.

Full Review… | May 7, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Sounds like your basic TV movie, sunk by noble intentions. But here well meaning translates into well done.

Full Review… | September 16, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Norman Jewison usually is a commanding storyteller, but In Country is a film with two stories that fail to add up to something greater.

Full Review… | September 16, 2009
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for In Country

Not particularly good. Not the worst film, and to be honest, the last few minutes of this when they visit the Vietnam memorial are great. However, the rest of the movie feels really disjointed and confused. If the director was trying to do this deliberately to try and capture the characters' emotions, I would understand and appreciate it. But it's not done deliberately, it's just clumsy as hell. That being said, this is far from the worst war movie out there, it's just nothing special.

Stephen Skudlarek
Stephen Skudlarek

Watched this movie recently. great movie for Memorial Day. Bruce Willis is outstanding. I cried like a baby at the end. For all those Viet Nam Vets. Thank you for your sacrifice. This was my generations war. It was awful for the soldiers and for the people back home who didn't support the war. Watch this on Memorial Day Instead of Saving Private Ryan

Debbie Banway
Debbie Banway

Bruce Willis got the horros of the after shock of this war down to a tee.I should know i have uncels who have been there and back.

Doris  Sisler
Doris Sisler

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