11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I couldn't watch this movie until now-16 years later!,
This review is from: Born on the Fourth of July (DVD)
When this movie was released in 1989, I had been married for the second time for one year. I was involved in marriage, family, career and had left the 60s behind for awhile. I had the privilege of doing that; Ron Kovic could not. Reading the reviews at that time, I knew this movie would be too intense for me, and a few years later, when my husband would suffer a major stroke and become partially paralyzed himself, causing both of us to endure years of rehabilitation, I deliberately avoided the movie whenever it aired on TV. What I had glimpsed was too raw and authentic--I had enough of that in my own life.
But I watched it tonight on AMC and marvelled at the film--Stone's brilliant directing, Kovic's terrible honesty about his journey, Cruise's willingness to "go there." This is perhaps Stone's greatest movie, thoughtful to the tiniest artistic detail; director is too shallow a title for his achievement with this film. Kovic--it is his story that inspires me to write this review. Three years after my husband died--he lived nearly 10 years with his disability--I understood all too well Kovic's path. The fact that he kept going, that he didn't give up even when life was dark, painful, and utterly bizarre is simply amazing. Having to face "aloneness" and "dependence" and life without "equipment" is the most terrifying experience one can deal with. My husband had me. He knew he was loved everyday. Ron had none of that, but, thank God, he found a community and a mission--one that he sought and created. What kind of strength is that? It comes only when you face that awful test in life that none of us wants, that we'll do anything to avoid. Those who have encountered it are either dead by choice or alive and transformed. Kovic went through it, came out the other end, and I'm in awe.