Today is Veterans Day, a day we celebrate those who have lived and died in service to the country. I joined the US Air Force in 2008 and have lived, traveled and deployed throughout Europe and Asia. I’ve had some incredible experiences and made some friends for life. But one thing I value most is developing an unparalleled love of cinema alongside honing my entertainment writing skills.
In 2013, I began writing for a site called Moviepilot while stationed in Virginia and wrote my first film review for riddick. Immediately after release, I was bombarded with messages that I didn’t know anything about action cinema and that “women shouldn’t review action films”. My first experience taught me a lot about audience interaction and online harassment for opinions.
I continued to write for various smaller websites while serving in the military, but the transition was even more difficult. I considered making entertainment writing my career, but with little experience and no support from major publishers, I had to take on freelance jobs for $50 apiece, not the most effective way to prevent homelessness. VA service helped a bit. I ended up going back to school and using these resources to keep myself afloat. It wasn’t until 2017 that I got the hang of this job. But without the spontaneous start in 2013, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I have a liking for certain types of military-centric cinema, whether fictional, documentary or fact-based. glory and Inglourious Basterds are two of my absolute favorite films. daughter from Danang, a documentary I adore, is about the effects of war on women and how it can affect families. In all of this, it struck me that most films in this genre rarely focus on women in the military or female veterans. I get it: women only make up less than 20% of the armed forces, but you’d still think there should be a lot more representations of it in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the display just isn’t where it should be.
This got me thinking, especially with the release of Jennifer Lawrence’s new Apple+ movie dam and the Netflix documentary I’m Vanessa Guillen. Both films deepen the experiences of women in the American armed forces. I wanted to further highlight memorable military wives in movie characters in film, so I made this list. Hopefully you can watch some of these movies and find out why they stick with me.
The latest Apple+ film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry and directed by Lila Neugebauger. Lynsey (Lawrence) is back home after suffering serious injuries from an IED detonation in a convoy while on duty. Desperate to return to the field, she eventually makes an unlikely friend in James (Henry), a local auto mechanic with mobility issues of his own. Their shared traumatic experiences bring them closer, leaving Lynsey with the choice of either rejoining the fight or staying home and building a new life.
Based on the true life story of Marine Corporal Megan Leavey (played by Kate Mara), this film is one of a kind. As a young corporal, Leavey forms a close bond with an attack dog, Rex. Her unique discipline and bond with a military attack dog saved many lives while serving in Iraq. During their time on duty together, Megan and Rex completed nearly 100 sorties before both were injured by an IUD and honorably discharged from the service. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
Directed by Craig Zobel, the film follows Crystal Creasey (Betty Gilpin), an Army veteran caught up in a case of mistaken identity when she wakes up as one of 12 strangers in an unfamiliar place. The target of these mysterious kidnappers, Crystal uses her learned military skills to survive a hideous series of traps, manipulations and betrayals to discover why she was chosen to hunt.
Natalie Portman is Lena, a former soldier and biologist who joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband Kane (Oscar Issacs) in what scientists call The Shimmer – a quarantine zone with mutating plants and animals caused by an extraterrestrial presence. Time and space become irrelevant as the group begins to change mentally and physically. Lena uses her wits and military training to fight humans and creatures alike to survive in a dangerous new world.
Ridley Scotts GI Jane chronicles the life of Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil (Demi Moore) as she journeys to become the first female member of a military special operations team. The character endures chronic misogyny, grueling training, crippling self-doubt, and betrayals that could prevent her from completing the program. However, her expertise in topography helps to successfully complete a mission in Libya.
Captain Marvel (Bree Larson) is part of an intergalactic team fighting alien threats. She looks like a human but has extraordinary powers. The Captain soon discovers that she is Carol Danvers, a former US Air Force pilot who has lost her memory and was integrated into the alien nation of the Kree due to a power she mistakenly received during a flight mission. Her goals in the military were no different from what she did in space, as overcoming adversity and doing what is right has always been in her DNA. The film is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
Jurassic Park domination
Kayla Watts (Dewanda Wise) is a cargo pilot and former US Air Force officer who joins Owen and Claire’s rescue mission. While Wise plays a supporting role, Kayla’s knowledge of aircraft and navigation is central to the survival of all involved.
I am Vanessa
The case of Vanessa Guillén shook America and the military world. At the age of 20, the US soldier was murdered in cold blood by a comrade who was afraid of being caught fraternizing with her because he was still married. The young woman had been missing for two months until her remains were discovered and identified. This documentary is important because it allows audiences to get an up close and personal look at who Vanessa was as a person, how the army handled the case, and if her family will get the justice they deserve.