The year is 1864 in Virginia, three years into the Civil War, two older women and five young girls are living a sounds way from the bullets and smoke of the war. One of the girls, Amy (Oona Laurence) was out beyond the house picking mushrooms when she stumbles upon a wounded Yankee soldier, Corporal John Patrick McBurney. Seeking shelter and medical care Amy takes him back to her school, Farnsworth Seminary, run by Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman).
The normal thing to do was tie a blue rag on the outer fence so that the soldiers would pick this Yankee up and either kill or imprison him. Miss Martha along with a majority vote decided to tend to his wounds help him get better and then turn him over to the soldiers. Time passes and the girls all flirt for John’s attention as they groom him, feed him and admire him. As John gets healthier he begins to help with chores around the house but Miss Martha decides that it is time for him to leave, on his own. All the girls, Amy, Alicia (Elle Fanning) the trouble maker, Jane (Angourie Rice), Marie (Addison Riecke), Emily (Emma Howard) along with Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) want him to stay but Miss Martha has made up her mind.
It’s not until one night when John wonders through the house does his life and that of all the women take a turn for the worst and what started as admiration and sexual tension ends in rage and fear. What the women thought of as the enemy as an individual not being what they thought, is after all exactly the opposite.
The film is very flat with no hills or valleys to enjoy while on the ride. It has its moments but more so in the end than throughout the entire story. A good score with some intriguing dialogue does help but overall I found the film to be uneventful and missing of the chance to bring some good suspense and thrills to the story line. The most exciting part of the film lasted for maybe ten minutes than once again it flat lines. I don’t believe it was the writing as much as the direction but something needed to be done to help keep the audience awake at times.
As for the cast, Kidman is once again outstanding as is Dunst who plays her character well with very little emotions, that is until she meets Farrell’s character. Farrell does a great job of playing a soldier on the run at least while he still could that is. Fanning is really making a mark in Hollywood and proves it once again here. As for Laurence, Rice, Riecke and Howard they are all exceptional and a wonderful support to the leads. All be it the film is slow but it does have its good qualities like the acting but in the end I don’t think this film will perform well in theaters especially after word of mouth starts to chatter.