"Love Thy Neighbor"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(CCC, BBB, PPP, Ab, LL, V, A, M) Very strong Christian, biblical, moral worldview stressing the biblical message “Love thy neighbor” as Northerners in upper New York disagree virulently about whether President Lincoln should have gone to war to keep the Union intact and end slavery, with an anti-war message that also becomes anti-slavery at the end as the conflicts play out and very strong patriotic American arguments about what’s constitutional and what isn’t constitutional, plus Scripture-spouting abolitionist is a little too angry and negative, though the movie finds a correct balance at the end; 11 obscenities (including several “h” and “d” words and one “s” word) and three light profanities; light violence includes a fight breaks out at polling booth between several men, angry men with torches show up at man’s house, house accidentally burns down and young woman’s apparently trapped inside, shots of characters surrounded by smoke in burning house, character found hanged, character loses arm in war but no war scenes shown; no sex, but young couple kisses several times; no nudity; some alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, people boycott man’s livelihood because of his political beliefs and vigilante action is also taken against him, but it’s rebuked and fathers become estranged from their children when conflicts arise.
COPPERHEAD is an historical drama set during the Civil War. It focuses on the question of whether it was morally and constitutionally right for the North to go to war against the South in order to save the Union and end slavery. COPPERHEAD has a great, emotionally powerful ending that’s well worth seeing, but the first two acts are somewhat slow and talky.
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.