05 June 2009

Review: The Way We Get By

Today L and I went to the Newport film festival. We decided to see the movie The Way We Get By. Besides Garden State I've never really seen an independent film before, so I didn't know what to expect. Due to work schedules L and I only really had two movies from which to choose. I had kind of wanted to see the French film 35 Shots of Rum, but L didn't want to see a movie with subtitles. Despite my reservations about The Way We Get By, I actually really liked it.

The movie was a documentary about three people who live in Bangor, Maine. Bangor is often the last place where U.S. troops are on American soil before they are deployed to Iraq, and it is often where they return to the States. The three people that the movie follows are part of the "Troop Greeters" in Bangor. The movie focuses on how important this task is to their lives, as well as the other hardships that they are facing.

As someone who does not frequently shed tears, especially during movies, I was surprised to find myself tearing up frequently during the film. The people in the film were very emotional, and know that it was real people and that a happy ending was not guaranteed made the movie somewhat depressing.

I think that the director did a great job of showing this aspect of the war without making an overt political statement, and I appreciated that. As someone who is somewhat supportive of the war, I was not looking forward to an hour and a half of anti-war messages, but that's not what this film was about. This film was about the meaning that supporting these troops gives to the lives of those who do it. One man even stated that at this point in his life he is no longer living for himself but to help them.

Overall, I am glad that I went to the Newport Film Festival, and I plan to attend again next year. On the way out they have you vote on the movie. I rated it 4 out of 5.

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