1993 ****1/2 142 mins.
Oliver Stone's finale to his "Vietnam Trilogy," consisting also of Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, is a near-masterpiece that has been sorely overlooked by critics and audiences. Most people give it ho-hum reviews, if they even bother with it at all. It's truly a shame because Heaven & Earth was a beautiful film with an amazing score by Kitaro. I've always been fascinated with war films that are told from the point of view of the American enemy. Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima, Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot, and now Oliver Stone's Heaven & Earth are all fascinating war films that are able to say what most American war films don't. Heaven & Earth tells the life story of a young woman who was born in a small Vietnamese village. Raped by soldiers, she was forced into a world she didn't want. She moves to the city, only to be swept off her feet by an American soldier who marries her and takes her to the United States, only to do a complete 180 degrees from the sweet, sensitive man she fell for. Heaven & Earth is not an easy film to watch, for the misfortunes that befall our heroine can be tough to take at times, especially since it's based on a true story. The real woman even makes a cameo in a jewellery store late in the film. I'm also very proud to say that Heaven & Earth doesn't falter in the second half, like so many films of the sort do. It's a powerful film with a lot of heart, directed by a talented individual.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Panavision)
Based Upon the Books "When Heaven and Earth Changed Places" by
Le Ly Hayslip with Jay Wurtis
and "Child of War, Woman of Peace" by
Le Ly Hayslip with James Hayslip