Cinema: A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries

Directed by James Ivory

Paris is for lovers. Why, in the 1960s, a girl could even love her genially alcoholic writer dad (Kris Kristofferson). Based on the memoirish novel by James Jones' daughter Kaylie, this beautifully observed film is a domestic epic in miniature: of precocious kids and stern teachers, of maids and their amours, of complex friendships ended by fate's whim. In an exemplary cast the standouts are Luisa Conlon and Leelee Sobieski as the daughter at seven and 14, and Anthony Roth Costanza as her brilliantly effeminate best friend. The Merchant-Ivory attention to period detail often seems like the movie equivalent of good...