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With the help of their friends, Stu (Wood) and Lidia Simmons (Lexi Randall) are determined to build the ultimate treehouse, a place of wonder and magic. Their father Stephen (Costner), a newly returned Vietnam vet, has equally high hopes to rebuild his life and fulfill his family's dreams.
Co-starring Mare Winningham, The War will captivate all who fall under its spell. It's a film rich with humor, nostalgia and mesmerizing performances. It is, in the words of the National News Syndicate, "a must-see movie."
Kevin Costner is the big name here, but the film belongs squarely to Elijah Wood, who plays his son. The film deals with the children of a Vietnam veteran in 1970 Mississippi; as their dad (Costner) tries to cope with posttraumatic stress disorder after serving in the war, the kids build a mammoth tree house in the woods--then must defend it against the local white-trash bullies. The film includes a particularly harrowing contest involving a swim across the reservoir of a decrepit water tower; still, director Jon Avnet can't avoid a certain "can't we all just get along" didactic message. That doesn't put a damper on the youthfully natural quality of the child actors, and Costner is actually quite winning as a sensitive, troubled soul. --Marshall Fine