(Reviewed this movie a couple of years ago. Watched it again last week. Enjoyed it as much as the first time, maybe even more.)
Sommersby , a 1993 film starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. Adapted from the historical account of 16th century French peasant Martin Guerre, this version takes place in the Reconstruction period following the War Between the States. It’s a period movie, with a touching love story and the chance for redemption.
Six long years after leaving his farm to fight in the war, Jack Sommersby is presumed dead. In spite of the hardships, his young widow and son are content in his absence, because he was an unpleasant and abusive husband. Her neighbor has asked her to marry, but she’s strangely reluctant.
Imagine her surprise when her husband returns a changed man. He’s kind and loving to Laurel and their young son, Rob. He even reads from Homer to them, something the old Jack never would have done. When she asks him why he’s different, he claims “War changes you; makes you appreciate things.”
The neighbor has reason to believe Jack is an impostor. And he’s not the only one. Everyone says he seems completely different. After taking the townspeople’s money, he sets off to buy the tobacco seed claiming that the crops will raise enough funds to rebuild the town church. All those that bought in on the deal set to work, transforming the dull and lifeless plantation into a breeding ground of promise and prosperity.
Laurel gives birth to a daughter, Rachel. Shortly after her birth, two US Marshals come to town town to arrest Jack for murder, Once the trial begins, Laurel’s attempts to save her husband quickly focus on the question of his identity: whether this “Jack” is who he claims to be, or a lookalike who met the real Sommersby in prison.
Laurel and Jack’s lawyer agree to argue that her husband is an impostor, not the same man who left Laurel to fight in the war. This would save him from being hanged, but it would mean those people who believed him to be the real Somersby would lose everything. Although she tries to convince the jury the man she loves is not a murderer, Jack is determined to be noble.
This was another ‘sister’ movie. I’ve never cared for Richard Gere, but I do love a good story about the old south after the War Between the States, and this one did not disappoint. The scenery was rich and earthy, the colors were vibrant, the characters real and the love story between Jack and Laurel was touching.
Southern Fried Chicken
Nothing personifies the south better than fried chicken. To make the best batter ever for chicken or anything fried, this is my recipe.
1 c. milk
1-2 c flour (depending on how much chicken you’re frying.
I either pull the skin off or use skinless chicken. Salt and pepper each piece and roll in flour. Dip in a mixture of milk and beaten egg. Roll in flour again. Use a cast iron skillet on medium heat with about a ½ inch of olive oil and fry on both sides. Makes a wonderful, crunchy golden brown crust. Take care to cook thick pieces long enough or they’ll be raw on the inside.
I like to serve it with mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh green beans and homemade biscuits, dripping with butter.Add iced tea, of course, and lots of it. Makes my mouth water just to think about it.
Makes my mouth water.