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Liam, love and loss

by Carol Casselman

I am a Wolverine.  No, not the Hugh Jackman kind.  I’m the type that bleeds maize and blue.  Those are the University of Michigan school colors.  So when the U of M February newsletter said “my people” shot a new movie on the Ann Arbor campus called Love and Honor, I was interested.

When I read the movie was a romance, I was hooked.  So even though it opens in theaters March 22, I curled up on my couch the next day and watched it On Demand.

I expected the movie to be light entertainment.  It was.  So you can imagine my shock when I burst into tears at the end.  I’m not talking about polite little droplets gliding down my cheeks.  These were non-stop, salty torrents of grief accompanied by explosive sobs.  I had no idea what hit me.

Love and Honor is about a young soldier and his buddy during the Vietnam War who travel to Ann Arbor to see the soldier’s girlfriend because she broke up with him in a letter.  The trip challenges their beliefs, their morals and changes their lives.

While I watched the actors bring those tumultuous years back to life, my subconscious was digging up my personal script from my college years.  I was engrossed by the story being told on the screen.  I had no clue that an internal storm was brewing.

I didn’t know all the intense impressions from my romances, triumphs and tragedies those four critical years were being dusted off, painted vivid colors and shot at me subconsciously in rapid fire succession.  As I watched the TV, those feelings were compressing into an emotional time bomb.  It exploded at the end of the movie.

I mentally searched for one event, in or out of the movie, that had provoked such gut-wrenching sadness.  In my past experience, it’s been easy to identify why I felt the way I did at the end of a movie.  Either I was happy or sad because of events experienced by a character, the story reminded me of an episode from my past, or both.  I finally realized that this movie unearthed a multi-year, multi-event, heavy-hitting, chunk of my life and dropped the whole thing in my lap.  I’ve never experienced that before.

It occurred to me I would have enjoyed the movie even more if its soundtrack included terrific musicians of that era like The Moody Blues; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Led Zeppelin; Jimi Hendrix and James Taylor.  But now I know I’m lucky it didn’t.  There wasn’t enough Kleenex in my house to handle the extra punch that music delivers.

People of any age or background who like light, entertaining, romantic films (or shots of Liam Hemsworth’s toned upper torso) will enjoy Love and Honor.  I definitely did.  However, anyone with memories of the Vietnam era should not be surprised if they’re flooded with strong emotions–or even unexpected tears–as the credits roll.

Carol Casselman

About Carol Casselman

Carol Casselman is a writer who loves art, dogs, television, movies, nature, cooking, traveling, University of Michigan football, Redwings and Kings hockey.

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