Fort Bliss (2014)

Director: Claudia Myers
Writers: Claudia Myers
Stars: Michelle Monaghan, Pablo Schreiber, Ron Livingston, Oakes Fegley, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Manolo Cardona
Running Time:  116 mins.

Duty and self fulfillment versus parental responsibility is explored in Fort Bliss about a decorated army medic and single mother who must reconnect with her young son after completing a 15-month tour in Afghanistan. Written and directed by Claudia Myers, the topic is as relevant today as much as anytime in our history.  And turning the lens on a woman soldier is inspired.

It’s quickly established that Sergeant Maggie Swann is a brave and quick thinking medic in Afghanistan.  She returns home to an ex-husband and a 5 year old son who refuses to remember her, forcing her to rebuild her  relationship with the child from the ground up.  Now used to military discipline, Maggie lacks the necessary patience and she resorts to tough-love before they both get back into the swing of life together.  At the same time Maggie tries to juggle that responsibility with a personal life that involves a new romance and the demands of army base life.  

A call back to active duty threatens everything she’s achieved in the past few months. And what we learn is that Maggie had a choice, family over the military and she chose the army.  While still in Afghanistan, she reenlisted.     Maggie’s good at her job and finds it rewarding.  Had she been a man there would have been fewer reprimands over that decision.  At least that’s what she thinks.  She also believes that she must be true to herself in order to be true to those around her.  

Lotta says Michelle Monaghan does an exceptional job portraying the many levels of Maggie and Oakes Fegley as son Paul handles his job well tackling conflicting emotions.  Look for solid performances from Ron Livingston as ex-husband Richard and Manolo Cardona as Luis, Maggie’s new paramour.  It’s an interesting and well told story.