Saturday, April 01, 2006
An Officer and a Gentleman
Unusual for a military film, this is very much a chick flick. Along with Richard Gere's handsome, young self in uniform, there is an endearing love story to break through the macho facade. In the beginning, Zack Mayo (Gere) is a college grad with a troubled family history who enters the Naval training program to become a fighter pilot. He is immediately faced with the challenges of assimilating into a disciplined lifestyle and has several run-ins with the other trainees. Sgt. Foley, played by Louis Gossett, Jr. (who won an Academy Award for the role), is a source of constant tension for Mayo. Foley's position as a role model and his enthusiastic teaching of martial arts technique turns out to be the catalyst for Mayo's personality shift.Through all the physical and mental pressure, Mayo relies upon his friend Sid and his girlfriend, Paula. While they have fun together in their down time, Sid's and Mayo's relationship is defined by the serious moments when Sid needs rescuing. When Sid decides to drop out of the training just before graduation, Mayo goes to the lengths of challenging authority to defend him. Their bond has a sad ending, unlike that of Mayo and Paula.
Not only does Mayo stand by his closest friends, but he begins to embody the all-for-one attitude of the Navy. During the final fitness test, his maturity is confirmed when he slows down to encourage the lone female who is struggling to climb the wall. In these moments, we forgive all of Mayo's faults and bad moves and root for him. An Officer and a Gentleman appeals to both our American sense of honor and our human sensitivity. Chick flick or not, it is a classic of 1982.
Posted by Chelsea at 8:09 PM