Sommersby (1993) Review

When a farmer returns home from the Civil War after six years, assumed dead by his wife, Jack Sommersby is about to change everything. Laurel has become content in his absence as he was an unpleasant and abusive husband, she had plans to marry neighbour Orin Meacham who had been helping on the farm and with her young son.


Upon his return though Jack has a change of heart and is very kind and loving towards Laurel and Rob, their young son. He reads to them both and claims the book was given to him by a man he shared a prison cell with. It doesn’t take long for the pair to get intimate (a lot I must add, I wasn’t expecting so much in bed action) and Laurel becomes pregnant.

Orin Meacham is feeling rather pushed out considering the plans to marry and he suspects that Jack is an impostor and indeed not the same man who left all those years ago to fight in the war. Then you get the shoemaker who finds out his shoe size is now two sizes smaller as well. The economy of the town is in ruins and in order to help rebuild this Jack comes up with a plan to grow Burley tobacco to make loads of cash, getting local people to invest with plots and a fair price with them also working on the farm.

Everything would take a turn for the worst though when he is charged with murder and faces the death penalty for this crime. But is it actually the right man? Is Jack who he says he is or the man who is a lookalike and met Sommersby in prison for deserting the Confederate Army? That is something that is then presented in the court case.

I have to admit that I was expecting a little bit more from this film with Richard Gere and Jodie Foster in the leading roles, don’t feel as though they were both used to full potential. Obviously the story line is a little bit difficult to get your head around I mean how does a woman not know if a man is her husband or not? Six years is quite a long time but surely as adults you don’t change that much in six years, I found that quite tough to deal with and accept, although I guess someone changing through war wouldn’t be so hard to believe?

Richard Gere has more than enough charisma and charm to pull off this role and quite frankly who wouldn’t be happy with him as your husband? The intense looks and how he was with the son, I mean you’d want to believe it right? Jodie Foster really has such a fantastic filmography and this role is another that is rather different for her. I enjoyed that she still managed to be a very strong female character as well. Bill Pullman was decent in a supporting role but the scene stealer from the support had to be James Earl Jones popping up as the Judge. I mean come on that damn voice!

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