Good Morning Vietnam, AMS SFE Docudrama,
This review is from: Good Morning, Vietnam (Amazon Video)
Mr. Evans- AMS SFE
Vietnam War Docudrama 1
Good Morning Vietnam
"Good Morning Vietnam!" was the main motto and the movie title of movie about the Vietnam War. This was a war comedy movie directed by Barry Levinson and the title in the movie talks mostly about the morale of the American troops, the censorship of media and the local life of Vietnam. The story was set in 1965, and it talked about an Airman First Class Adrian Cronauer (played by Robin William) who arrives in Saigon from Crete to work as a DJ for Armed Forces Radio Service. He first enters the place with curiosity and the place is nothing like America. The beer in local Vietnam is terrible, the streets are different, and the weather was terrible. However Adrian came here to boost the morale of the troops, however the Second Lieutenant Steven Hauk and Sergeant Major Phillip Dickerson didn't like the way Adrian was broadcasting the information. Adrian's way of broadcasting and his comedy were spectacular and the soldiers really enjoyed it. He had fan letters from everyone and he played loud and active music that boosted the army's morale.
Through out the movie, Adrian also went out to the local life of Vietnam and met some new people. He went to a local English school in Vietnam, went to local bars and he also experienced the local markets and life styles of the Vietnamese. He made friends with the Vietnamese and he interacted with them a lot. One of his closest friends was Tuan, which taught him many of the traditions and introduced Adrian to his sister Trinh. Adrian was interacting with the locals and he started to enjoy the daily life there. His radio broadcasting was also successful, however the sergeant and lieutenant were both constantly telling him to change his content because it wasn't suited for the soldiers. Also, Adrian was also unhappy about the censorship the military is providing. He believes they have the right to know everything, but the military leaders don't allow it. Adrian later was suspended once, but later he was called back. However in the end, Adrian found out about Tuan being a terrorist, who is wanted by the South Vietnamese police, this resulted in losing his job and losing a close friend. He left the final voice message to all the soldiers and enjoyed the company of the Vietnamese on the last day and left Vietnam after five months of working.
This movie really portrayed the life in Vietnam. It wasn't about the war zones, but it was about integrating an American into the Vietnam life. In one part of the movie, it showed how Americans were racist to the Vietnamese that went into the bar. The American soldier started to insult Tuan and had a bar fight with Adrian in the end. In Vietnam life, Adrian also spent time in a Vietnamese cinema, it had English subtitles and this shows how common an American life is. The streets that we see from the movie, there are Americans everywhere. They are smoking, drinking, it's like a common thing and American life is simulated in it. In the movie, one of the main scenes was in an English school. A military soldier was teaching the Vietnamese simple English, just like a first grade class in a normal American school. American influence is strong in the country, and these actions were a sign to pacification. America tries to educate the Vietnamese, let to simulate into their society and show that America is trying to help and save this country. The class has a range from high school students to old people; this shows that America is educating every single person in the country. The people are learning and a lot of them have fun learning this new language. When Adrian came in the class, he taught about simple slang language, or daily American things like baseball to these people. It was a mixed society and there are different perspectives for everyone.
In the story, there are Vietnamese that blame America for the damages that were done in the country. There were terrorist bombings that destroyed the bar where the Americans go. There were protests on the streets and the police had to use violence to stop these actions. The Vietnamese police even had to secretly kill all the traitors as they caused a threat to the society they were in. Tuan in the end was part of these traitors. He explained to Adrian in the end, "Enemy? What is an enemy? You killing my own people so many miles from your home. We're not the enemy. You're the enemy. Big deal! My mother's dead. And my older brother, he's dead. Shot by Americans. My neighbor, dead. His wife, dead. Why? Because we're not human to them. We're only little Vietnamese." This was very strong and we could see the hatred among some of the Vietnamese in the south. There is hatred towards America and to them, America isn't doing them a favor.
The last thing the movie strongly portrayed was the influence of media and the morale the soldiers needed. During the Vietnam War, many of the soldiers missed their family, loss their friends and suffered in many other hardships. Adrian was the DJ that was sent here to boost the morale of these troops. When Adrian met the soldiers on the field personally, he knew how influential he was. His jokes provided happiness and provided another purpose towards life and war. It helped to fight better and reminded them of their American spirit. However, in the movie we can see how the army tries to hide the true news from the soldiers out in the field. There was news like, "US military leaders in Saigon urge secretary of Defense, Mcnamara to approve a force level of 350,000 to 400,000 US soldiers." These things were censored and a lot of things were not correctly reported. Like the bar explosion was also not mentioned in the broadcast because the generals don't want the soldiers to know about the tragic news that was brought upon them. However, this angered Adrian and he didn't get to truly give out the meaning of the broadcast. However in the end, he ended in good note, he got to know the people and had a relationship with Vietnam. Overall, this was a good comedy movie that gave an insight into Vietnam and it showed things other than war zones in Vietnam.