A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some area of native land where it may get the love of tender kinship from the earth, for the labors men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one's own homestead.
- George Eliot
Reading this quote at the beginning of "Gods and Generals," one gets a sense of the heart and soul of this movie, the first in a trilogy about the Civil War. However historically accurate, the movie still manages to include human moments, proving the Civil War was not all blood and gore. Both sides believed in their side's cause with all they had. Slaves sided not only with the pro-Emancipation Proclamation North, but some, like Tim the cook, sided with the South and had deep discussions with General Jackson.
There are several scenes that reach into your soul. For some it may be the prayer General Jackson says at the aftermath of one of the bloodiest battles. For me, it was the men, or even boys, leaving to join the war. They came from all walks of life, and as they bid their families farewell, you realize that they may never return. When General Jackson cries over the death of one little girl, a soldier realizes the general is crying for all those who died.
There is some comic relief, including one scene where two rebel soldiers comment on the many colors of Confederate uniforms. One tells the other, "You dang fool, you just shoot at the man who's shooting at you."
Overall, this is a very well-made movie that is historically correct down to the smallest detail. The characters become real and history is no longer a dusty book but an actual event that people lived through or even died because of.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.