Sherman’s March

Released:  1986

Cast:  Ross McElwee

SUMMARY:  This film is a documentary made almost entirely by Ross McElwee.  McElwee’s original intention was to make a film about Sherman’s “March to the Sea” of the Civil War, focusing on the area of North Carolina (his home state), South Carolina, and Georgia.  However, just before he is due to start filming, McElwee breaks up with his girlfriend, which throws him into a tailspin.  While he still vaguely follows Sherman’s trail through the South, his main focus becomes his love life (or lack thereof).  Several women are featured in the film, who are either old girlfriends or new acquaintances that he briefly dates.  In each case, the relationship ends.  McElwee finally becomes discouraged and returns to New York, where he takes a job teaching a filmmaking class.  At the college, he meets a music teacher whom he decides to ask out.

MY TAKE:  This movie isn’t as bad as it may sound, which was nice.  Frankly, watching almost three hours of a guy moping about his failed relationship did not sound too good to me.  I still would have preferred to watch a movie that was actually about Sherman’s March, though.  Since there are a number of women in the film (which took place over a year), things don’t seem to drag too much, although it is kind of depressing to watch these various relationships fail.  Personally, my favorite person in the film was Charlene, the former teacher who was desperate to find McElwee a wife.  She was pushy and a little invasive, but also very funny.  She wasn’t successful in her efforts, but she was entertaining.  I did wish at the end of the film we had been told if his relationship with the music teacher worked out, but I suppose that isn’t really the point of the film.  I looked it up anyway, and found that McElwee apparently did get married, but to a woman named Marilyn (the music teacher’s name was Pam).  I’m not sure what was so revelatory about this film, though, as most people go through a number of failed relationships in their life.

RATING:  Skip it.



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