Love Thy Neighbor
Starring: Billy Campbell, Angus
Macfadyen, Casey Thomas Brown,
Lucy Boynton, Peter Fonda,
Augustus Prew, Josh Cruddas,
Genevieve Steele, Hugh
Genre: Historical Drama
Audience: Older children and adults
Runtime: 121 minutes
Distributor: Film Collective/Brainstorm
Director: Ron Maxwell
Executive Producer: Robert Bishop, Susan Bishop
Producer: Ron Maxwell
Writer: Bill Kauffman
Address Comments To:Meyer Shwarzstein, President, Brainstorm Media
280 South Beverly Drive, Suite 208
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Phone: (310) 285-0812; Fax: (310) 285-0772
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Directed by Ron Maxwell, the talented creator behind GETTYSBURG and GODS AND GENERALS, the movie opens with one or two beautiful tracking shots of a peaceful river valley in Upstate New York. A brief narration sets the stage. It’s 1862, one year after the Civil War began. The war hasn’t reached Northern New York, but it soon will as more young men consider volunteering for Mr. Lincoln’s army.
One farmer stands firmly against President Lincoln’s effort to save the Union and stop slavery – Abner Beech. As a Christian, Abner doesn’t believe in slavery but he doesn’t believe in war. He also thinks Lincoln’s actions are unconstitutional. Vehemently opposed to Abner’s views is Jee Hagadorn, a longtime abolitionist. The problem is, Abner’s son, Jeff, is smitten with Hagadorn’s daughter, Esther. Even worse, Esther and her father have convinced Jeff to enlist in “Mr. Lincoln’s war.” Hagadorn rubs salt in this wound by organizing a boycott of Abner’s dairy products.
Eventually, as the town’s war casualties mount and Jeff is reported missing in action, the tensions between the small group of townspeople who support Abner’s view and the rest of the town mount. Leading the charge is an increasingly angry Hagadorn. Especially after Hagadorn’s own son decides to head south to find out what happened to Jeff. Tragedy results.
Copperhead is Christian throughout and has a wonderful, emotionally powerful ending. The last scenes poignantly ask the viewer, “Whatever happened to ‘Love thy neighbor?’” The question is asked in the context of a heartfelt scene that takes place during a funeral service inside a Christian church.
Before the third act, however, the movie moves at a leisurely pace. It’s also a little too talky. Even so, the acting is superb, which is a credit to both director Ron Maxwell and his cast, led by Billy Campbell (THE ROCKETEER) and Angus Macfadyen (BRAVEHEART). Regrettably, COPPERHEAD has some foul language, so caution is warranted.
COPPERHEAD is Christian throughout and has a wonderful, emotionally powerful ending. The last scenes poignantly ask the viewer, “Whatever happened to ‘Love thy neighbor?’” The question is asked during a heartfelt scene inside a Christian church. Before the third act, however, the movie moves slowly and is a bit talky. Otherwise, the acting is superb. Regrettably, COPPERHEAD has some foul language, so caution is warranted.