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Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: From a snowy small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, Where Soldiers Come From follows the four-year journey of childhood friends, forever changed by a faraway war. A documentary about growing up, Where Soldiers Come From, is an intimate look at the young men who fight our wars and the families and town they come from. Returning to her hometown, Director Heather Courtney gains extraordinary access following these young men as they grow and change from teenagers stuck in their town, to 23-year-old veterans facing the struggles of returning home. (International Film Circuit) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew Barker
    Sep 5, 2011
    80
    Covering their lives with intimate access from before boot camp to the difficult return home, Heather Courtney's documentary packs a savage but understated punch.
  2. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Sep 6, 2011
    70
    Much of what's presented is familiar territory, but it's the moments that fracture prejudices and expectations that stick with you.
  3. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Sep 8, 2011
    70
    Where Soldiers Come From is, more than anything, a commentary on class. In its compassionate, modest gaze, the real cost of distant political decisions is softly illuminated, as well as the shame of a country with little to offer its less fortunate young people than a ticket to a battlefield.
  4. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Sep 6, 2011
    60
    It's only during the last third that the film finds its footing, as the PTSD fallout and collective sense of disillusionment suggest a bigger picture regarding why we fight, etc. Otherwise, this decent, if decidedly personal, look at small-town soldiers works better as an erratic scrapbook than a representative statement.
  5. Reviewed by: Lauren Wissot
    Sep 4, 2011
    50
    A four-year study of an Afghan war-bound group of friends (the mother of Cole, the goofy joker of the group, compares the boys to the characters in The Deer Hunter), Courtney's documentary is equal parts heartfelt and public-television predictable.
  6. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Sep 17, 2011
    50
    There's a good deal of honest emotion onscreen, particularly from the parents left behind to worry, yet the documentary sometimes feels like the work of a filmmaker who began with a preconceived story and wasn't quite sure what to do with the one she actually got.
  7. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Oct 9, 2011
    50
    Despite the film's unvarnished emotionality and even-handed messaging, Courtney never seems to have found an appropriate focus, resulting in a work that's less urgent and involving than its intense subject matter might have dictated.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 13, 2013
    6
    An interesting, if somewhat predictable, tale about how young men sometimes stumble into war and the aftermath of that life changing decision. Neocons like Dick Chaney should be forced to watch this film every day they are alive, for the remainder of their comfortable lives. Expand