Soldier’s Girl (Showtime)
Soldier’s Girl is based on the true story of Pvt. Barry Winchell, an American G.I., and Calpernia Addams, a transsexual nightclub performer, with whom he fell in love. The emotional havoc their relationship unleashed on the Army base where Winchell was stationed, the anti-gay sentiments fueled by ignorance and fear, led to Winchell’s brutal murder. On July 5, 1999, he was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat by a fellow soldier. Translating such a story for the screen required the delicate but uncompromising efforts of screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, the care and control of director Frank Pierson, and stunning performances by Troy Garity as Barry and Lee Pace as Calpernia, all supported by an outstanding cast and production crew. Soldier’s Girl never exploits or sensationalizes its subject matter. But neither does it flinch from realities of the pain and violence that accompany it. Nyswaner’s research into the case, including his interviews with Calpernia Addams, enabled him to avoid common stereotypes and probe the complex personal emotions of individuals involved in the love affair as well as those who could not abide it. At the same time his script laid bare larger social patterns of homophobia and the folly of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Brought to the screen by producers Doro Bachrach and Linda Gottlieb, Soldier’s Girl receives a Peabody Award for a courageous presentation of this tragic story.
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