The Lucky Ones and the Iraq War
PopMatters has two interesting takes on The Lucky Ones and how it frames the Iraq War:
The film’s theme, additional to its basic premise that hard work, jambalaya, outdoor showers and other American notions are darn good, is that no one died “for nothing” in Iraq.
This idea, if it were true, might actually ease some of the anguish, pain, PTSD and assorted unimaginable horrors of anyone involved with the Iraq war (on either side) and in whatever role. However, this particularly American quandary, the rationalizing of what the dead of the Iraq war died for, must postulate an unbearable answer. Post-mandatory patriotism, post-Bush II, post-fake WMDs, the answer just might be… for nothing.
The love affair, and ultra-hot chemistry between Schilling and Efron, is a stand-in for the real romance—the one between the audience and an irresistible version of America. … Like the gorgeous cinematography that makes marshlands drip with sunlight, the film makes implausibility seem real, as if the stuff we look at is true. Love is magical, no one died for nothin’ in Iraq, and the South in particular is the land of the lucky.
Here’s my problem: when did it become okay to make this sort of movie about an Iraq War veteran? I think it really says something about the distance the American people have had from the two concurrent wars that this was even considered as a good idea. The problem is not that this is a pro-war movie or anti-war movie. It seems to consider the war as no more than a shorthand for character development. … To put it another way, could The Lucky One have been made in 1975 about Vietnam? It doesn’t seem like it would be very difficult to move the story. But something about placing The Lucky One’s scenario in the post-Vietnam era would seem icky, right? During the Vietnam War we as a nation were able to see the effects of the war on soldiers returning home, and a movie that would trivialize those effects would not be acceptable. And it is not as if this war has not caused significant trauma to soldiers.