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Common Sense Media says
Meticulous Civil War story runs a little long.
ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
GODS AND GENERALS is a careful, meticulous, lovingly crafted three and a half hour chronicle of the Civil War. This is a movie where the Confederate general Stonewall Jackson (still so revered in Virginia that the place he died is not called a memorial, but a shrine) calls the black man he is about to hire as a cook "Mr. Lewis," and where Mr. Lewis is so well educated, despite being from a part of the country where educating black people is illegal, that he quotes Napoleon. Later on, General Jackson explains to Mr. Lewis that the South would like to free all the slaves. It just wants to do that without being forced to by the federal government, so that the South can build an enduring friendship with the people who were kidnapped and sold into bondage. Meanwhile, on the other side, a Northern officer who will become the most decorated soldier in the Union army, tells his brother that the war was not fought about slavery, but now that it is underway, it is so terrible that it has to be justified by making some great, sweeping, change for justice.
Is it any good?
Sometimes, what is best for history is not best for drama. And here, the film-maker's relentless even-handedness removes whatever drama the story might have had by making every one of the characters endlessly honorable, devoted to God, home, and family, good to the slaves, and able to spout poetry, the classics, or the Bible in the midst of the direst circumstances. Its PG-13 television-ready (it will be expanded to six hours for a miniseries) level of violence may make it suitable for junior high history class field trips, but does not truly convey the tragic carnage of the war. All the soldiers have nice uniforms and enough to eat. Officers at the front get visits from their devoted wives at places that 150 years later will be made into quaint bed and breakfast inns. And everyone is on the right side.
And -- everyone encompasses a lot of people. Hard core Civil War buffs may be able to follow the endless series of characters and their advances and retreats, all identified with brief subtitles, but anyone else will have a hard time.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the way that more than 160 years later, people in the United States still disagree about the causes and effects of the Civil War (which some still call the War Between the States). What did the soldiers on both sides have in common? What were their differences? Given what is going on in the world right now, what did we learn?
This review of Gods and Generals was written by Nell Minow
A must see for every student of American history. While there are some graphic scenes of the horrors of warfare - other movies are much worse - students need to be aware of the costs of war, and that some things are worth fighting, and sacrificing for.
The film does a credible job of discussing the causes of the War, from both sides. The dialoge between the Generals, Top civilians, and the foot soldier gives the viewer a good taste of the variety of sentiments of the day.
It is long, but it is a good 'rainy day' movie.
A pause button will be helpful to stop the DVD and discuss some of the points with the kids is a good tactic to us.
to tell u the truth i had first seen gettysberg, this movie's prelude. gettyrsberg was simply amazing especially the battle of little round top its one of my favs...this one didnt totally meet up to my expectations but i liked it! however, i found that WAY too much attention was given to the south. like, WAY too much is was always aboutthe south and how everyone down their loved and took care of their slaves and how the slaves loved them blah blah blah...that ticked me off, and general jackson shoulda been toned down a teensy bit lol...he was a christian, but they made him look like he was stuck up! UGH and he wasnt like that!... but i loved the battles, and the story! the battle of fredericksburg was SO KEWL, and general hancock is by far one of the kewlest characters and should have been in it more! the part with the irish brigade was the best i cried and got shivers it was so...well...just watch it 4 urself lol
I read the book Gods and Generals,and when my mom told me there was a movie,I was so excited!I had huge expectations for this movie,and they were met!I had no complaints,except for the casting.Rubert Duvall was AMAZING as Lee,but I kind of wish Martin Sheen had portrayed him again.And Stephen Lang as Stonewall Jackson?I liked him much better as Pickett!But other than that,I loved this movie!The characters occasionally smoke,and of course,as this being a Civil War movie,there are some epic battle scenes!
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