This Is Not a War Story (2021) - Rotten Tomatoes

This Is Not a War Story (2021)




Critic Consensus: This Is Not a War Story takes a sobering yet uplifting look at life after combat -- and life-altering friendship in unexpected places.

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Movie Info

Timothy Reyes hustles through the NYC subway system. Oblivious passers-by don't notice he is popping pills, fading, killing himself. Discovered dead on an empty train, no one knows him to be a combat veteran. His mentor, Will LaRue blames himself and wrestles with the guilt, and a resurgence of his own demons from war. His refuge: a multi-generational community of artist veterans, who make handmade paper out of military uniforms. Shredding them, pulverizing them -- uniforms are reconstituted into paper, onto which the veterans express their rage, humor, memories, and hopes, in the form of art and poetry. Into this community arrives Isabelle -- a veteran recently returned home, only to find home more alienating and hostile than being at war. Her brother and estranged mother can't fathom or accept her identity as a Marine. Will and Isabelle forge a tenuous alliance in this community of mostly white male veterans, and Isabelle's increasing fixation on Will as some kind of savior or teacher digs directly against his private struggle to accept Timothy's suicide and intensifies his self-blame for failing to save him. The confrontations and the bond between Will and Isabelle propel them into a deeper questioning of themselves, and into what it means, finally, to want to live.


Critic Reviews for This Is Not a War Story

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (3)

An ambitious and thoughtful attempt to deal with veterans coming to terms with what they have seen and done.

November 12, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A naturalistic, chat-heavy narrative that captures the difficulties wrought by the unimaginable trauma individuals face as they attempt to forge connections and find peace after war.

November 4, 2021 | Full Review…

It's not always easy to watch, but "This Is Not a War Story" gives a platform for voices that definitely need to be heard.

September 15, 2021 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Though This is Not a War Story deals with trauma, there is also an underlying hope to it-that the characters it depicts might be OK, that they can learn to connect to each other, that they cannot banish their trauma, but might be able to live with it.

November 22, 2021 | Full Review…

...a sobering piece that rewards a careful viewing; the heroism portrayed here is finding a way to get through the day...

November 10, 2021 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

With graceful tact, technical prowess, and a proudly assertive voice, "This Is Not a War Story" mashes real people and real worlds with loud cinematic bravado.

November 1, 2021 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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