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'Fort Bliss' needs to more fully examine its protagonist's conflicts

'Bliss' stars Michelle Monaghan as a decorated Army medic who returns home from extended duty in Afghanistan, but the conflicts of Monaghan's character about motherhood and the military need to be explored more.

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    Michelle Monaghan stars as Maggie Swann in 'Fort Bliss.'
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The plight of returning war veterans almost always focuses on male soldiers, so “Fort Bliss,” written and directed by Claudia Myers, has its fascinations. Michelle Monaghan plays Maggie Swann, a decorated Army medic who returns home from extended duty in Afghanistan to discover that her 5-year-old son (a very good Oakes Fegley), who has been living with her ex-husband (Ron Livingston) and his new girlfriend (Emmanuelle Chriqui), is repelled by her.

 Myers, whose background is in documentaries involving Afghanistan and Iraq War vets, is good at capturing the revealing, offhand moments in this story, but Maggie’s conflicts about motherhood and the military needed a greater psychological scope than this film provides. Grade: B- (This film is unrated.)

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