USA | 96 MINUTES | English |
A film about a love affair that endures real hardships and earns, through the spirit of youth, a meaningful victory, Stateside provides a breath of fresh air in a cinematic ecosystem befouled by too many by-the-numbers romantic dramas. It's 1980. Rich, rebellious 17-year-old Mark Deloach (Jonathan Tucker) is a lonely and unpopular boy. His mother has passed away and he lives with his emphysematic father (Joe Mantegna) and his younger sister in their mansion of a home. After some reckless driving lands him in front of a judge, Mark is nudged into military service. He winds up on Parris Island, where he is faced with hard-core discipline from Senior Drill Instructor Skeer (Val Kilmer) who sets out to turn Mark's upper crust lifestyle upside down. While on leave, Mark reunites with an old acquaintance, Dori Lawrence. He learns that Dori is now a famous entertainer and is mysteriously attracted to her eccentric behavior. Little by little, the two begin to fall in love, each seeing in the other a refuge from the loneliness and isolation they feel. As their budding romance is tested by deployments and separations, the old adage that all is fair in love and war proves true. There is a patent honesty in Stateside that other romantic dramas have missed. Its self-mocking take on young love threatened by adversity should resonate with couples of all ages. The characters feel real because they are real. With contributions from a stellar cast, this film delivers quite an uplifting emotional punch.