Where Soldiers Come From

Where Soldiers Come From
premieres Nov. 10, 2011 on POV

Read what critics have to say about the POV documentary Where Soldiers Come From, which follows the four-year journey of childhood friends who join the National Guard after graduating from high school. Watch Where Soldiers Come From now (for free) on the PBS mobile app, or tune in to its U.S. broadcast premiere on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, on PBS stations. (Check local listings.)

“A heartbreakingly lived-in portrait… Packs a savage, but understated, punch.”
Andrew Barker, Variety

“In its compassionate, modest gaze, the real cost of distant political decisions is softly illuminated, as well as the shame of a country with little to offer its less fortunate young people than a ticket to a battlefield.”
Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“Courtney embeds with the soldiers, and her footage (and the way she has assembled it) is some of the best Afghanistan war-related storytelling I’ve seen…I watched Where Soldiers Come From twice — it was that good.”
Hank Stuever, The Washington Post

“…it was more than a little surprising, after so many different takes on the issue, to sense something revelatory emerging in Where Soldiers Come From, director Heather Courtney’s emotional and engrossing portrait of America’s bravest.”
James Snyder, TIME

“Haunting and compassionate… What makes Where Soldiers Come From so unusual is the relaxed and intelligent way that it connects the private and public experience of war… The movie plays like an elegant real-life answer to The Best Years of Our Lives and The Deer Hunter.”
Matt Zoller Seitz, Salon

“[Heather] Courtney avoids all political posturing here, something rare in modern war documentaries. These are the guys, American kids. This is the war, it’s awful. And this is what happens. In your own backyard.”
Tom Long, The Detroit News

“[A] significant, moving, saddening portrayal of the effects of war on the nation’s young men.”
Charles Ealy, Austin 360

“The war-weary public might not want another movie on this topic, but as a current-day, real-life Best Years of Our Lives or Deer Hunter (the latter referenced by one of the moms), this is the one to see.Eric Monder, Film Journal International

Where Soldiers Come From is so moving, so compelling, because it tells the stories of these engaging young men who are trying to find their way to a positive future.”
Jennifer Merin, About.com

“Intriguing, personal war docu, about small-town soldiers stuck between boyhood and manhood; a good companion piece to the fictionalized The Deer Hunter, to which this work makes reference.Emanuel Levy, EmanualLevy.com

“I was really, really, really blown away… It really distinguishes itself from other films I’ve seen about Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Jake Perlin, BAMcinématek programmer

“Watch it not only because it is fine documentary by an experienced and talented filmmaker, and not only because it is a film about men in war, but watch it and think, ‘Could we have done more for them and their communities, given them more choices before they left, and how can we help them when they come home?'”
Lt. Col. Robert Mackey (Ret.), Huffington Post

Watch Where Soldiers Come From now on the PBS mobile app or on television this Thursday, November 10, 2011, at 9 PM on many PBS stations. (Check local listings.)

Published by

Emily Thomas is a Fall 2011 intern with POV Digital. She's interned at Esquire magazine and Vice magazine. Currently Emily is finishing her senior year at NYU, where she is double majoring in journalism and social & cultural analysis. She is also a freelance journalist and aspiring documentary filmmaker. Her top five documentaries are: 1. Buena Vista Social Club (Wim Wenders) 2. Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh) 3. Crumb (Terry Zwigoff) 4. Dont Look Back (D A Pennebaker) 5. Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston)