Coming Home (1978)
There is little doubt about Jane Fonda and the other filmmakers' motivation in making Coming Home back in the golden days of political dissidence, but there's nothing wrong with a message movie as long as it's done as intelligently and thoughtfully as here. Jon Voight's performance as a paraplegic Vietnam veteran may well be his career best - which isn't saying little for an actor whose output during the 1970s included powerhouse performances in Deliverance and the ultimate tear-jerker The Champ. And playing against him, Fonda cleverly and skillfully embodies a role which illustrates almost every predicament, paradox and ambivalence for real humans involved in or somehow touched by war. Coming Home is not a political film; it's a film about tragic human destinies sealed by political (as well as personal) choices and directions. Right-wing critics may have dubbed it left-wing and meek, but seen with a geographical and temporal distance, you'd have to be quite narrow-minded to maintain such a view with any kind of seriousness. Bruce Dern and Bobby Carradine give brilliant supporting performances. The direction by Hal Ashby is surprisingly sane and level-headed; his career (and personal life) went quickly downhill after this.