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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 21 September 2011
Most critics did not like Heaven & Earth when first released, but that is their loss. I recomend this film even to people who do not usually like films about war or do not otherwise like Oliver Stone's films, as well as those who do.

Because the centre of the world film industry and its biggest market are both in the USA, films about the Vietnam War tend to give American points of view, whether pro or anti the US role. That is not necessarily 'racism', just business, given how much it costs to make a major film. Heaven & Earth is therefore unusual and interesting for giving the (to us) less familiar experience of a young Vietnamese woman in the 1960s and 1970s who grows up in a village, moves to a city and ultimately escapes to the USA by marrying an American soldier, in time of a partly civil war in which neither side was really in the right. The herione sometimes personally endures and sometimes witnesses the sufferings of those on both sides, and those caught between both sides, the ruthless and doctrinaire Vietnamese Communists who ultimately won, and the often corrupt and cruel Vietnamese anti-communists and their American backers and Allies.

The acting is overall perfectly good rather than Oscar material, but the way the film tells its remarkable story, bringing in many characters and incidents and showing us something of both Vietnamese and Ameican society, makes it fascinating and moving.

The film is based on the autobiographical books of Lee Ly Hayslip, who was born in Vietnam and now lives in the USA. See especially her excellent book 'When Heaven and Earh Changed Places'. In adapting her story for the screen the director Oliver Stone and his team take permissible liberties with the facts e.g. combining the stories of Lee Ly Hayslip's two successive American husbands into one, but the film treats the spirit of the story respectfully and overall gets it right.

There are a limited number of DVD extras including deleted scenes with director commentary (there is no commentary for the film itself) which are also interesting.
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on 17 March 2015
Very hard-hitting and epic film, as good as I remember it. Good soundtrack and camera angles, a war film for girls (would be good if there was a cinematic version of 'Wild Swans'...) Cast is fantastic.

Recommended for fans of Tommy Lee Jones, or biographical / war films.
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on 18 June 2015
Excellent movie, but I can understand why it flopped in the USA. It's not particularly complimentary about the American attitude towards the Vietnamese innocents caught in the middle. That is what this film is about, no jingoistic attitudes to the Vietnamese war, but a sad indictment of attitudes towards those caught in the middle.
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on 12 November 2001
If you like war films then this has to be one of the best, I missed it when it first came out, but was not dissapointed with this at all. It shows the vietnamise war from the perspective of a normal family caught up in the middle, and I thought was directed brilliantly. It has something of everything in the film and makes a great companion to platoon which I liked very much also. That film shows the war from the american viewpoint, and was another which I thought was very well made, but for me heaven and earth just has the edge.
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on 24 May 2012
I saw this film when i was 12 years old. It was monumental. It had conflict, trauma, war, migration, betrayal, relationships and personal failure. Basically it represented the upheavel of humanity that war can create for both the aggressor and the victim and how they can in turn can take on the opposite role. Today 18 years later i am buying the DVD.
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on 19 September 2012
The video was purchased because we had just returned from Vietnam which we thought had a fascinating history. The video brought back memories and provided a taste of what life might have been like during their various conflicts.
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on 22 September 2003
although the film has parts that are a bit grusom i still thik this is a great fill.
i first saw this film a couple of years a got it really touched my heart .
it showes some of the realities of the war in vietnam. and the struggles of being a young girl who is dissownedby her family
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on 29 January 2011
Recent tour of Vietnam Laos and Cambodia hence the interest.In my opinion the DVD gives an insight into the conflict that happened in Indochina and displays the suffering that the people went through that otherwise one could not comprehend.
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on 14 October 2009
i love this film. oliver stone at his best. i first seen this film years ago, i asked friends had they seen it, they didnt. i thought it was strange.i was glued to the screen. yes it was a war story, but its also a love story, and the lives, daily lives of people who came through the war.
i love tommy lee jones. his role is fantastic 5* any of my friends who hadnt seen it, watched it. they loved it too. at times it can be funny, sad, depressing, disturbing. it is a snowball of emotions but well worth it. i would highly recommend it to both guys and girls.
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on 26 January 2011
I first saw this movie when i was 11 years old. and i was drawn to it fast.... I'am now 27 and have never forgot this film and the deep impact it had on me. I love this film. a true love story with in a war story.
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