For most Spokanites, the fun of seeing familiar surroundings and spotting actors that you might know personally tended to distract them from the content of the film itself. I rented the video hoping that this movie would measure up to all of the publicity it received here in Spokane while it was being filmed.
I hoped it would be good; when I finished watching, I was just relieved that it wasn't any worse than it was. It is not a complete waste of time, but I can't say I was left with any deeper insights into the human condition, although I know this movie was trying mighty hard to send a message.
I did appreciate the focus on anti-German discrimination during World War I, which is something we tend to forget about. However, most of that discrimination was focused on recent immigrants and naturalized US citizens who were obviously foreign-born. War orphans, I seriously doubt, entered into the mix. Logistically speaking, I cannot figure out how American troops were in a position to be killing German civilians on German soil.
Also the story of the discrimination is told in a rather ham-fisted style, as we are beat over the head, again and again, with the fact that the dad hates these orphans because his own son died due to Germans, etc etc etc. How many times do we have to have this illustrated to us? Many scenes seem to be simply repetitive.
The subplot, featuring a fictional German opera, also beats you over the head with clumsy, all-too-obvious symbolism. Yes, yes, we all get that the plot of the opera mirrors the events unfolding in the town. The faux-Wagnerian music is almost impossible to bear at times.
The ending of the movie was also a bit too corny for my taste. Everything seemed to wrap up a bit too tidily. I suppose you have to make the audience feel good.
This wasn't a terrible movie; however, with some changes in the story line and some tighter editing, it could have been a rather moving little movie.