By Inkoo Kang | Women and Hollywood April 8, 2014 at 10:00AM
Michelle Monaghan (True Detective, Source Code) takes on the leading writer-director Claudia Myers' Fort Bliss, a career-versus-family drama about an Army medic who prefers the landmine-ridden deserts of Afghanistan to the even more unpredictable terrains of single motherhood.
After returning home from her deployment, Maggie (Monaghan) struggles to reconnect with her five-year-old son (Oakes Fegley), who has forgotten about her during her 18-month tour of duty. In her absence, Little Paul has attached himself to his father (Ron Livingston), who doesn't give Maggie any reasons not to sign up for another stint in Afghanistan.
So that's exactly what Maggie does -- a decision that strains her relationship with her son and her ex even further. But of course re-deployment comes with its own dangers, physical and otherwise, and jeopardizes Maggie's new romance with mechanic Luis (Manolo Cardona).
"The film pulls no punches about what it is like to be a female in the military, telling the universal theme of career vs. family from the mother's perspective," said producer John Sullivan. "I come from a military family and war seems to be something that we [as a culture] continue to be involved in. It is very simple just to call them soldiers -- but they are husbands, fathers, mothers. The film drives home the cost of war to families."
(Recommended reading: "The Things She Carried," a New York Times editorial by author Cara Hoffman, which argues that female veterans are by and large still invisible to the culture at large, especially when they return home.)
Fort Bliss will debut at the Newport Beach Film Festival on April 29.