The Girl He Left Behind Review

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It’s time to look at an old school war film about a guy who tries to sabotage the army from the inside. Andy is a pretty spoiled main character and while the film tries to give him a character arc, it just doesn’t work. Still, the film is pretty good despite that. You just aren’t rooting for the main character for once.

The film starts off with the lead kicking the game winning field goal. Unfortunately he is broke so his Mom has to give him spending money for when he hangs out with the heroine. It’s a nice gesture and this isn’t a bad thing per say. What makes this a bad set up is that Andy takes advantage of her generosity by being reckless. He breaks the heroine’s car so he has to spend a lot of money to fix it. Everyone has had enough so he is sent off to the army. That’s when the lead decides that he will do everything he can to leave the army by sabotaging his platoon at every corner. Can the army make a man out of this kid or is it too late?

It goes without saying that Andy makes things miserable for everyone. The platoon is naturally expected to keep their barracks clean or their squad leader will get chewed out. Well, the lead decides to leave the guns unlocked and the coats unpressed. This effects the whole squad and the lead just tells everyone to deal with it since he won’t be stopping. He’ll even go and fight with anyone who tries to stop him. Unfortunately he is a pretty good fighter so it’s tough for the average joes to stop him. The lead also goes and steals their money for his own amusement.

Interestingly enough, the film doesn’t really try to make you empathize with the character until the final minutes of the film. He shows no real remorse and doesn’t do anything to make it right to the platoon. So then there is no reason to like the main character at all. Giving this guy a general position? Now that’s just crazy and I feel bad for his underlings. The army just promoted the wrong guy over someone who was likely a lot more qualified.

That’s why the fight scene near the end of the film was probably the best moment in the movie. We finally got to see the main character put in his place. I’m definitely glad about that since an army officer who trains diligently every day the way the commander does should definitely be more than a match for a random cadet. You can’t skip training and still hope to be the best.

Meanwhile you’ll feel bad for the heroine who has to put up with this. She just wants to study hard and retire early. Unfortunately that isn’t really an option with this lead. While she made the right move in breaking up with him early on, she made a mistake in getting back together each time. She should have just left well enough alone and I’m sure she would have been happier.

The rest of the characters are definitely on point. The commander of the main character’s platoon is definitely a lot of fun. You certainly can’t say that he doesn’t have personality. His lawnmower examples were always solid. Then you have the other army commanders who gradually realize that the lead is a real problem. There is a nice sense of unity among these guys.

The script is top notch here, but you would expect nothing less. The characters dish out a lot of witty one liners. The voice acting for the characters is pretty solid as they all tend to sound sarcastic at different points. While Andy is definitely a bad character, his confidence does lead to a lot of nice comebacks. He definitely isn’t afraid of throwing a little sarcasm at everyone around him. I suppose if you are going to play the role of the villain it is almost a necessity. I do hope he was forced to give the money back to his teammates at some point down the line though. You just can’t have someone like that as a commander otherwise. The ending is definitely the weakest part of the film. There’s just no way Andy should have been allowed to stick around the way that he did.

Overall, While the main character definitely goes a little too far with how immature he is, it doesn’t take away from the film’s solid writing and pacing. It’s a fun enough story and it definitely does show the army as being a lot nicer than you would see in other films. The lead wouldn’t have gotten away with nearly as much in a different movie. If you haven’t seen any of these classic army comedies before then I would definitely recommend checking it out. It’s a nice all around film. Some parts haven’t aged as well as others, but that’ll make it a very authentic retro film.

Overall 7/10

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