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111 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, powerful adaptation of a true story
I saw this movie the same day that I saw Million Dollar Baby (the boxing film starring Hillary Swank and Clint Eastwood), and at the end all I could think was - is this how I wanted to spend Christmas Eve? Crying?

Well, it was worth it.

Barry's story is well known, so I'll skip a retelling. Although I never fully understood Barry's interest in...
Published on December 25, 2004 by Jonathan Appleseed

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing subject to follow!
When I first saw this DVD I had no idea it featured a ransgendered male and was transfixed by it as the 'story' unfolded. It was not a film of coersion - more of a deep loving friendship which turned to love for one another
Published on February 4, 2009 by K. Carpenter


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111 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, powerful adaptation of a true story, December 25, 2004
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
I saw this movie the same day that I saw Million Dollar Baby (the boxing film starring Hillary Swank and Clint Eastwood), and at the end all I could think was - is this how I wanted to spend Christmas Eve? Crying?

Well, it was worth it.

Barry's story is well known, so I'll skip a retelling. Although I never fully understood Barry's interest in Calpernia, only because the movie didn't make any attempts to delve into the "why" of his attraction to her, I found myself moved by their love, and Barry's fierce determination to keep his private life (Calpernia) private.

What a shame that he shared barracks with such a horrendous and sick person (Justin). I know some people in the armed forces that are gay (but don't ask me who, because I won't tell <grin>), and they are well accepted by their ... I don't know the technical terms here...comrades in arms. How's that. A pity that Barry didn't get stuck with a person whose problem was certainly far worse than OCD.

Anyway. What I found particularly moving, and what has caused me to watch the movie again, were the special features on the CD. Usually the special features are interesting for ancillary purposes. But these were different. First, I was surprised to find that Calpernia's [...] weren't real. I had been rather convinced that a real transgender was playing her role. Instead, it was a male, with a rather flat chest, so his performance was even more interesting. That's one of the main reasons I want to watch the film again.

Calpernia Adams herself appeared in the Special Features, and I was so surprised. I don't have a tremendous amount of experience with transgenders, but did not expect her to be so much like a lady. NOT a gay man acting like a lady, but a real lady. Her comments on Barry were pointed and poignant. Also, she did have her final operation, and is working now in L.A.

The other appearance of note in the Special Features was that of Barry's mother herself. We learned a little more about Barry than in the film. When he first went to Visions, his "buddies" were taking him there to get his mind off his breakup with his girlfriend of four years. She wondered if Barry was actually gay, but said that it didn't matter. What mattered is that what happened to him was a terrible crime, one of bigotry and hate, and so she and her husband have taken it upon themselves to speak when and wherever they can to combat closed minds. Good for them.

There were only two things that angered me. One, the person that killed Barry will be eligible for parole in less than thirteen years. The manner in which he killed Barry should have garnered him life imprisonment without the possibility of parole - at best. Also, the instigator of his death, Justin, is up for parole very soon. If not for his pressuring, the little idiot (Glover?) that killed Barry probably wouldn't have done it. If the movie showed that scene correctly, as it actually happened, then Justin is just as responsible for Barry's death as Glover, and should be in prison for a very long time.

*Added 9/29/06 - According to the October 10th, 2006 issue of The Advocate, "Justin Fisher...was [released] to a halfway house [last month]. Fisher will be out of custody entirely October 24."

He didn't spend nearly enough time for this crime. How horribly, horribly sad.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitting and respectful, February 13, 2004
By 
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
The truth behind this film is shocking in the extreme, and the heart hurts terribly for Calpernia and Barry's family. Anger and despair are two words that spring to mind.
The message, seemed to me to be about homophobia. I know a lot of trans people will cry "transphobia", but we suffer violence because some in society see us as sexual beings, nothing more, so the focus of the film there I feel was an important one to make.
As a transgendered woman myself, I bought the movie with the wrong focus, the wrong intent. I was expecting a movie with Calpernia as the central character. I'm glad that the producers centered the movie around Barry (played with sensitivity by Troy Garity), it is a fitting tribute to a decent human being. And it's quite nice to not have it sensationalised as well, just played as what it is, a tragic romance.
Sorry, but Lee just couldn't muster the voice at all. He sounded like a man trying to sound like a woman. A little vocal preparation would have helped there. That being said, he did put in a pretty good performance all in all. It can't be easy being a bloke and playing a part like that, so hats off for his courage to try and make it work.
Like Calpernia I was in the navy (12 years, though I began transition whilst still in the service) and what Barry went through I have seen and experienced. Don't ask don't tell simply does not work, even if you're not gay, but if, like Barry, you fall in love with someone considered "wrong." A complete re-education policy needs to be set in place, and the reason is aptly set out in this film, graphically and simply. The psychological goading of the young recruit was exceptionally well produced I thought, considering the time constraints within the movie itself and brought back some terrible memories.
Watching and hearing Barry's Mother in the special features was, I have to say, the most harrowing part of the viewing experience. Somebody with a huge amount of courage and sensitivity, a true and complete sense of humanity, She brought tears to my eyes.
Overall, I'm glad I bought it, even though I had to buy it from the US direct, and it will be watched several times more in the next few months, with friends.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic Love Story, June 20, 2004
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
Troy Garity proves that he has great acting ability in his performance as Barry Winchell, a soldier who falls in love with a transgendered performer. Barry is taken to a nightclub by his obnoxious and self-destructive roommate Fisher as a test to see if he is gay or straight. Rather than a test of sexuality, it was a test of love for a human being despite the psychological and physiological appearance. Lee Pace does an excellent portrayal of a woman trapped in a man's body--what it feels like to be someone else on the inside. Winchell had to deal with his peers who mocked and jeered at the transgendered performers and himself for falling in love with a "different" type of person. Tragedy ensued in the middle of the movie.
Fisher was his own worst enemy and downfall. He was trying to do good but yet, screwed up because he was unable to control himself and expected everyone to fall at his feet. But he messed up constantly and he too would have to meet his perilous fate.
Showtime doesn't hold back on issues that affect us in the public. They aren't afraid to address homosexuality where mainstream media sugarcoats to not offend viewers. It is a tragedy that a young man who falls in love with someone considered "abnormal" is outcasted by society and the military. "Don't ask, don't tell" is just another way to keep gays and lesbians in the closet.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some justice for Barry, February 12, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
I have never reviewed a movie before until I watched Soldier's Girl. This is an absolutely beautiful film, virtuously retold by wonderful young actors who have obviously been inspired to do justice to the truth.
Here is a true story about Barry Winchell, a young soldier from the heartland and fresh out of basic training setting out somewhat hesitantly into dangerous sexual territory. And what danger there is in wait for this man! His military leaders and comrades have made life on base for him, or for anyone awakening to gay feelings, a living hell. It's a wonder that he didn't snap from the constant drumming hostility and it's really a testament to his bravery and maturity that he withstood that humiliating barrage without complaining.
Troy Garity's performance as Barry is, I think, Oscar worthy and Lee Pace is completely convincing as the transgendered club performer Calpurnia Addams. Sean Hatosy plays the manipulative Pvt Fisher as a kind of "Iago" character so well that I didn't realize until later how seamless his performance is. And the young actor who plays Barry's killer really captures the feeble-minded brutishness of Pvt Glover to perfection. I really must hand it to Showtime for hiring Frank Pierson and all these incredible actors to portray this still fresh tragedy with such courage.
The DVD version which I bought has some great interviews with the actors and some of the actual persons that helps fill out the total story. I recommend this film to anyone in general and specifically to any young man gay or gay-curious who might be thinking of joining the military.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching and heartwarming, October 30, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
Finally a true depiction of what love without gender boundries can really be. A beautiful love story, truly beautifully acted with a horrific ending. A good education for those who not realize what can exist between two people without regard to gender. That love can grow between two minds and not just between the sheets. Watch with an open mind and come away with a fresh outlook. A must see.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dramatic, sensational, and, sadly, true, October 21, 2005
By 
just some "guy" (philadelphia, pa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
i'd call this movie over dramatic and sensationalistic if it weren't for the fact that it is based on a true story of a soldier falling in love with a transsexual woman and the tragedy that ensues when his fellow soldiers find out about his relationship. i felt this film did an excellent job of making the distinction between gender and sexual orrientation as well as acknowleging how they are entertwined. i also appreciated that this was not made as an "activist" film but rather a beautiful and tragic love story.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And now a perspective from the other side, August 25, 2005
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
Of all the reviews here, none is specifically from a transgendered person. Well, that just changed. I walk the walk too.

Everyone here has talked about the horrible, horrible thing that happened to Barry, which IS the focus and purpose of the film, so I won't add to that. Suffice to say, I cannot watch the movie without crying.

The reality is that a lot of people watch the film to learn something about the real life of a transexual woman, and Callie is as real as they come. She's the other half of this love story, the half that makes Barry's death significant enough that someone wanted to make a movie about it. That's harsh, Barry's death should be such an act of intolerance that it should stand on its own, but the reality is it only has cultural signicance in the context of his relationship with Callie.

Callie was on the set for the filming and worked with the actors and director such that this film has such a feel of authenticity that you can come away feeling a real appreciation for the people involved in this sad story. This is also a testament to the skill of the actors, who were phenomenal. When Lee Pace turns to face the mirror in a bathrobe, I don't think I have ever seen a transexual woman that didn't wince at the same memory. Likewise when she rolls over on the bed and looks into the mirror as Barry is leaving. You won't learn a lot about transexual women from this movie, but you will get a number of serious viceral moments that will stick with you.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It'll make you laugh, cry and think.., January 2, 2004
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
Showtime has come up with an absolute winner with this stunning film based on a true story. As wonderful as it is, expect it to get under your skin and stay there. It's so hard to except what happened to the lives of these two beautiful people. Calpernia & Barry could have had a great future until their relationship came to an abrupt and heartbreaking end. There are many things that stood in their way. Jealously.. Barry's roommate was overwelmingly envious of what Barry had, or perhaps he wanted Barry himself. Sexual repression.. Barry's roommate was obviously a life long closet-case. (&) Ignorance.. How can someone be so stupid to do what that seventeen year old did, just because it was suggested by another. I think this film should become a requirement for all high school students to see. Something strong and knowledgeable like this film could only do good. As far as the filmmakers, they did a wonderful job bringing the story to life in a most realistic way. The actors were in top form as well, Troy Garity (Barry) & Lee Pace (Calpernia) had some of the best on screen chemistry that I've seen in a while. A Soldier's Girl is one of the best original films from any cable network period. 5 stars respectfully!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tragic shame, January 11, 2006
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
I saw this film last night and was moved by it's beauty in depicting true love between 2 individuals, but was also saddened and angered that we still have people existing in society that just can't seem to put aside thier fears and hatred when it comes to dealing with homosexuality, transgendered persons. Barry was to young too die and certainly didn't deserve what was done to him. People who think along those lines of hate should maybe watch films like this, maybe it would open thier eyes, although I doubt they would see anything, since most of them live with thier heads up their asses, and their nose to deeply rooted in biblical mythology....Maybe one day these sort of incidents won't happen. No one should have to live in fear of reprisals because of their life choices
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing And Very Touching, September 15, 2004
By 
J. Beatty (Revere, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Soldier's Girl (DVD)
If you do not feel tremendous emotion watching this movie and have it stay with you for days afterwards..then you're not human! I turned on Showtime and saw this just starting so I decided to watch it..WOW!! What performances...this people did the story the justice it deserves..If this had been a theatrical release, Lee Pace would be up for best actor..Incredible performance as the transgendered lover of Winchell. The movie shows that just because someone may be "different" doesn't mean they cannot be loved. As a matter of fact I thought the love between the two was one of the best love stories ever told..I have to admit, I cried my eyes out when we see Lee's reaction to hearing about Winchell's death. That scene broke my heart and the emotion Lee exhibits is very raw and real...Sadly, stuff like this happens everyday somewhere. When oh when will we finally wake up and realize that love is universal, it's for everyone...not just for "normal" people, as some closed minded peopele would have you believe...Movies like this should be mandatory viewing for high school students and politicians.
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Soldier's Girl
Soldier's Girl by Frank Pierson (DVD - 2004)
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