58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2003
I went into this thinking it would be a fairly lighthearted view of one family's troubles living in 1970 Mississippi. After one viewing, I was shocked. Shocked enough to end up watching it three times in two days.
Are people really so mean to one another? Adults will stand by while a child gets beaten by a gang? People will purposefully ram other cars when they break down in the road? Children will fight and do life-threatening dares for property? You bet. This reality was what made this movie so compelling and unique in a world of bland, "let's not be controversial" movies.
It isn't perfect, by any means. It's too long, has too many sub-stories to successfully complete them all, and is downright cheesy at times. But in terms of acting, Costner combines the haunted vet and nuturing father together believeably, and all the children are well done (there are some great faces, really interesting to look at). The most interesting relationship was between the three girls: a relationship which succesfully merged race, strength, loyalty, and good old fashioned girliness. Elijah Wood also has some truly great moments.
The children's war was horrifying, and by far the best part of the movie. I couldn't look at the screen the first time I watched it because it was so disturbing (not because it's violent, but because it's kids who obviously don't realize the seriousness of the situation). It's a really good piece of work, transitioning from innocent to vicious so smoothly the viewers don't consciously realize there was even a shift. Very very well done.
The thing I like about The War is that I still find myself thinking about it weeks later. Not so much about war itself, but about children and growing up, and losing the things you love. Only good movies make you do that.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2001
I rented this first of all for Kevin Costner, but was surprised after watching why you never heard more about this movie, It was fantastic! Every actor and actress did great jobs, but both Elijah Wood and Kevin Costner stood out. It never really had a certain plot but yet it did in the fact that it focused on war from three sides....The real war Costner went through....The war the children fought to try and fit in.....and the war that everyone of us fight inside ourselves. If you don't walk away from this movie with a twing inside something is missing. I would highly recommend this for the whole family to watch and learn from. And yes I cried at the end.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 1999
The war is a very good movie with a very good slogan (what's worth fighting for..) It's an amazing story and the actors are heartwarming. Everyone acts really well, but Elijah Wood deserves some extra credit here. He proves once again that he's one of the best actors of his age. The war is a movie with a great concept and great scenes, especially the one with the treehouse. In this movie they focus on the real war, but also on the war with yourself and the war between children (treehouse scene). It's a must see movie.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2002
When I first saw this movie, I remember thinking Elijah Wood is one of the most amazing actors of the times. Even at his age, he was almost upstaging Kevin Costner. I was blown away at his natural talent, and I loved watching him. He has a great way of showing his emotion through his eyes.
Although the movie sometimes is overwritten and wordy, for me it never takes away how wonderful it is to watch. The cast does an amazing job with the sometimes too corny script and makes it all work. Definitely one of my all time favorite movies. If you're just in it to watch a good movie, and not get too critical, you're going to adore it. I gave it 5 stars, even though I said it was flawed, because the movie it self makes up for whatever silly flaws were in the script and directing. The actors are amazing, and do a wonderful job with what is given to them
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 1999
THE WAR is the best movie I have seen in years! The performance by Elijah Jordan Wood should have gotten him an Oscar nomination! It left me in tears wanting more. The moral of the story is so deep and makes you think. This is what movies are all about...not special effects and big money! You must BUY this movie NOW! I would seriously give it an OSCAR for BEST PICTURE!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I had never heard of this film before the New Year. Considering it was released well over a decade ago, I was surprised how good it was. The story is about a struggling poor family told by their little girl's point of view. The cast shine in this engrossing well made tale, which can be summed up by one line Kevin Costner's character says to his young son. "It only takes a second to do something you'll regret for the rest of your life"!....How true! The film has several small stories going on throughout and while they are interesting and well acted, they never seemed to go any deeper than the skin. I did enjoy this film a lot and I'm sure I will watch it again but, it just didn't quite go for the jugular, like I had hoped. As far as content goes......I have read some reviews stating that this film is not suitable for kids. I think PG says it all and I think kids could learn a lot from this picture if, watched with a caring adult who would talk through some issues in this movie. This is a movie, well worth seeing!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2007
I read a lot of the other reviews and while a lot said good things about this film, some were also bad. One review said it should get an R rating because of the violence bewteen the kids, but childhood brawls, fights, failures and conquests are all about growing up. If we censor things for the children we don't prepare them for what to come. I think this movie has alot of important messages in it and I would suggest it for any parent to watch it with their kid. This was one of my favorite films when I was a kid, and although I didnt understand the post-traumatic stress disorder Kevin Costner was going through, I understood his angst and I had a better understanding of fights between children after I saw this movie. I did my share of neighborhood brawls when I was a kid and looking back now I dont even know of a reason. Its just something that we all go through. Parents shouldnt shun this away from their kids, after all it isn't Lord of the Flies. SPOILER* at the end of the movie it has a really important message when Elijah Wood's character risked his life to save one of the bullies, the message is that when in the face of death the minor fights between the kids were all forgotton in that instant- it didnt mean anything. It is also an important movie to show to kids for the vietnam aspect. How there was a war for the veterens of vietnam when they came home and soldiers have to deal with the guilt and whether they did the right thing or not- somewhat a good starting point for other movies like Born on the Forth of July and Jacob's Ladder. Other messages in this movie are racial ones, standing up for whats right, standing up for your friends, backing away from fights, and to treat anyone with dignity and respect no matter who they are. Also if you do watch this with your kid, prepare yourself, this like Fried Green Tomatoes is a sad movie. It deals with loss and hardships.
I hadn't watched this movie since I was a kid and I watched it again for the first time in 12 years. I have the same fondness I did since I was a kid and more so now because I can appreciate the wonderful soundtrack and score, with great songs by Janis Joplin, CCR, and Cat Stevens and one of the best places in a movie for Gimme Shelter. The score was beautiful and very inspirational from the very talented Thomas Newman. This was a wonderful movie that I would suggest to anyone- one that will always be close to my heart. And anyone who loved Friend Green Tomatoes and Forrest Gump will love this.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2003
You know, i dont understand sometimes why the critics gnaw on such films as this and "pay it forward"
i dont know what they expect from a film but this one delivers.
Elijah Wood is perfectly cast alongside kevin costner(who is a co-star). "The War" in question is not what you would expect to find in this film, it refers to one of two possibilities.
1)the war that is going on in kevin costner's head, having just returned from one, and the problems the family has to face or
2) the war between the kids, which would be my guess. I dont realy know what else to say but i will tell you that Elijah is a pleasure to watch. personaly, he is a far better actor than McCauly culkin ever was. He has a natural gift for accents (eg. the adventures of huckleberry finn).
so if you are looking for a film that gives you more out of it than you would expect then this is the one. there is a message or two in this one, so check it out. you wont be dissapointed, i gaurantee it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2002
Admittedly, I at first rented this movie for Elijah Wood, for whom I suffered a short obsession beginning in the summer of 2001. But, as I came to know his work, I became slightly less interested in him and more so in his films.
First of all, the acting in this movie is very good, especially for being comprised of an almost all-child cast. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that these people really are poverty-stricken Mississippians in the 1970's. The message of the movie is powerful and effective, and my belief is that it is the closest Elijah Wood ever came to Academy Award-worthy acting in his career.
In addition to incredible acting by both Wood and Kevin Costner, the film also boasts an excellent soundtrack with 60's music by artists such as the Supremes, and a score by Thomas Newman, who found more recent exposure with the films Pay it Forward and Erin Brockovich.
Do yourself a favor and see this feel-good movie about family values, and wholly, about morals. It is a great movie to sit down and watch with the kids, and with moments funny, sad, and suspenseful, it won't be boring for anyone.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2002
It's a shame the director got carried away with his his child villains in this film, because the message could have been so powerful. As it is, however, we can't seem to decide...ARE some things really worth fighting for, or is violence ALWAYS wrong? Try as he might, 13 year old Stu (Elijah Wood in an absolutely brilliant performance) simply cannot diffuse the violence of the family of juevenile delinquents who are out to get him. What starts out as self-defense quickly escalates into an endless cycle of meaningless violence, but does that mean he was wrong to stand up for himself? I think in the end the movie asks more questions than it answers, which after all may not be a bad thing.
Be that as it may, The War delivers some of the best characters I've ever seen in a film...Costner's sensitive, loving but troubled father was heart-wrenching, and all the young actors delivered strong, believable performances. I particularly look for great things to come from Wood, one of the best child actors of all time.