Sommersby

Sommersby is an unabashedly romantic and morally intricate Civil War-era tale splendidly acted by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It's one of those rare occasions that the Americanization of a foreign property (here Daniel Vigne's The Return of Martin Guerre) works as well as the original.

With:
Richard Gere Jodie Foster Bill Pullman James Earl Jones William Windom Maury Chaykin

Sommersby is an unabashedly romantic and morally intricate Civil War-era tale splendidly acted by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It’s one of those rare occasions that the Americanization of a foreign property (here Daniel Vigne’s The Return of Martin Guerre) works as well as the original.

The missing-in-action and presumed dead Jack Sommersby (Gere) suddenly reappears two years after the end of the Civil War and attempts to start life anew with his wife, Laurel (Foster), and young son. Foster breaks off her relationship with the righteous Orin (Bill Pullman) and tentatively resumes her place alongside her husband.

Sommersby returns a new man, as tender and committed to his wife as he had once been distant and cruel. Naturally, this arouses suspicion about his identity.

The movie keeps the question beautifully balanced in mid-air. Nicholas Meyer and Sarah Kernochan’s screenplay (from Meyer and Anthony Shaffer’s story) is cogent and elegantly literate. The film’s ending is entirely appropriate but will be much debated.

Foster is a compelling actress, telegraphing layer after layer of emotional subtext. But Gere, whose production company developed the film, comes close to stealing the picture a compelling actress, telegraphing layer after layer of emotional subtext. But Gere, whose production company developed the film, comes close to stealing the picture.

Sommersby

Production: Warner/Canal Plus/Regency/Alco. Director Jon Amiel; Producer Arnon Milchan, Steven Reuther; Screenplay Nicholas Meyer, Sarah Kernochan; Camera Philippe Rousselot; Editor Peter Boyle; Music Danny Elfman; Art Director Bruno Rubeo

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 112 MIN.

With: Richard Gere Jodie Foster Bill Pullman James Earl Jones William Windom Maury Chaykin

More Film

  • 'The Kindergarten Teacher' Review

    Sundance Film Review: 'The Kindergarten Teacher'

    Sommersby is an unabashedly romantic and morally intricate Civil War-era tale splendidly acted by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It’s one of those rare occasions that the Americanization of a foreign property (here Daniel Vigne’s The Return of Martin Guerre) works as well as the original. The missing-in-action and presumed dead Jack Sommersby (Gere) suddenly […]

  • 'Juliet, Naked' Review: Ethan Hawke, Rose

    Sundance Film Review: 'Juliet, Naked'

    Sommersby is an unabashedly romantic and morally intricate Civil War-era tale splendidly acted by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It’s one of those rare occasions that the Americanization of a foreign property (here Daniel Vigne’s The Return of Martin Guerre) works as well as the original. The missing-in-action and presumed dead Jack Sommersby (Gere) suddenly […]

  • 'Pity' Review: No Mercy Shown in

    Sundance Film Review: 'Pity'

    Sommersby is an unabashedly romantic and morally intricate Civil War-era tale splendidly acted by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It’s one of those rare occasions that the Americanization of a foreign property (here Daniel Vigne’s The Return of Martin Guerre) works as well as the original. The missing-in-action and presumed dead Jack Sommersby (Gere) suddenly […]

  • American Animals

    Sundance Film Review: 'American Animals'

    Sommersby is an unabashedly romantic and morally intricate Civil War-era tale splendidly acted by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It’s one of those rare occasions that the Americanization of a foreign property (here Daniel Vigne’s The Return of Martin Guerre) works as well as the original. The missing-in-action and presumed dead Jack Sommersby (Gere) suddenly […]

  • 'The Long Road Home' Review

    Sundance Film Review: 'The Long Dumb Road'

    Sommersby is an unabashedly romantic and morally intricate Civil War-era tale splendidly acted by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It’s one of those rare occasions that the Americanization of a foreign property (here Daniel Vigne’s The Return of Martin Guerre) works as well as the original. The missing-in-action and presumed dead Jack Sommersby (Gere) suddenly […]

  • Lori Mccreary and Gary Lucchesi PGA

    How Harvey Weinstein Drove the PGA to Combat Sexual Harassment on Set

    Sommersby is an unabashedly romantic and morally intricate Civil War-era tale splendidly acted by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It’s one of those rare occasions that the Americanization of a foreign property (here Daniel Vigne’s The Return of Martin Guerre) works as well as the original. The missing-in-action and presumed dead Jack Sommersby (Gere) suddenly […]

  • Allison Shearmur

    Allison Shearmur, 'Rogue One,' 'Hunger Games' Producer, Dies at 54

    Sommersby is an unabashedly romantic and morally intricate Civil War-era tale splendidly acted by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. It’s one of those rare occasions that the Americanization of a foreign property (here Daniel Vigne’s The Return of Martin Guerre) works as well as the original. The missing-in-action and presumed dead Jack Sommersby (Gere) suddenly […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content