Father Solider Son Review – Deeply Emotional, A Portrayal of Heartbreak and Hope

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Father Solider Son, an original film from The New York Times and Netflix, presents the story of Sgt. First Class Brian Eisch, a decorated third generation solider, and his two sons, Joey and Isaac, and life in the military.

Directed by Leslye Davis and Catrin Einhorn, Father Solider Son, was developed from a 2010 New York Times article, highlighting the single dad titled, "Families Bear Brunt of Deployment Strains."

At the time the documentary begins, Joey is seven and Isaac is twelve, and we hear the story begins of what life is like for them while their father is deployed in Afghanistan. The fear that he will be killed or worse is always at the forefront of their minds.

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We finally meet Sgt. Brian Eisch, a handsome, squared-jawed, tanned, and taunt Army Ranger, coming home on leave for two weeks, at the airport. Landing in middle America, where military service is respected, the passengers in arrivals and departures, break out into spontaneous applause. To the boys their superhero is home.

Over the next two weeks the boys are hanging out with their dad, and we hear him explain, that they tell him stories of classmates whose dads have returned home different. Facing that fear, he explains he doesn't want to be that person, who has seen the mental anguish of war and becomes mentally wounded.

Two weeks come and go, and Brian is heading back to Afghanistan, the boys are consumed with fear, and loss. Abandoned by their mother, their dad is all they have, even as they have his extended family, they are alone.

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During a firefight Brian is injured, shot below the knee which he was rescuing a civilian. He was recused by the company medic. The story moves to the hospital where we see the severity of the wound. Joey and Isaac have also changed. Joey feels an eye for an eye is the only fair retribution and Isaac shifts into caregiver.

The Eisch household is a man cave and the boys, even while they reconcile with the fact that their dad is different, they are happy to have him home. Brian is wounded and in constant pain. By this time, he has met Maria, who would eventually become his wife. She also explains the tragedies, triumphs, and heartaches of trying to be strong, supportive, and understanding.

Unfortunately, the pain in his lower leg is unbearable so they make the decision to amputate. While his brain is determined to expedite the healing process his body is not and waiting for a prosthetic is challenging.

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Life is continuing to move forward, and his two sons are preparing for a future. Joey had decided to follow his father's footsteps into the military and Isaac wants to go to college. Soon Maria and Brian are planning their wedding.

Two months later tragedy strikes this blended family as Joey, who is always quick to show his emotion, whom we met at seven and immediately want to comfort, and understood his heartache, his anger, his desire to please his dad, and who enjoyed life, was killed while riding his bike.

Stepping into his father's shoes and fulfilling his brother's desire, Isaac enlists.

Father Solider Son, is more than a documentary honoring our wounded warriors from the war in Afghanistan, it highlights ideas of masculinity, of blended families, of duty, a belief in the foundations and ideals of American, and what many believe are uniquely American, patriotism, liberty, service.

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This genuinely emotional and moving portrait of an American family called to serve, explores the meaning of sacrifice, the need for purpose, and the challenges of being a father, a soldier, and a son.

Father Solider Son, a genuine and poignant journey of love, loss, heartbreak, and hope. Premiering on Netflix July 17, 2020.

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