Watch Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story
- 1 hr 31 min
Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story is a powerful and emotional drama from 1995 that tells the real-life story of Margarethe Cammermeyer, a highly decorated colonel in the US Army who was discharged when she admitted that she was a lesbian. The movie stars Glenn Close in the lead role, while Judy Davis, Jan Rubes, and others play pivotal supporting roles.
The movie opens with Cammermeyer, a respected and accomplished nurse and officer, being grilled by a military panel about her sexual orientation, as she seeks to renew her security clearance. She makes the fateful decision to tell the truth, which leads to a formal investigation and eventually to her discharge from the Army.
The film then goes back in time, showing us Cammermeyer's journey over the years that led to her admission, and her fight to regain her standing and reputation after being essentially thrown out of her career. We see the young Margarethe, played absorbingly by Ryan Reynolds, as she joins the Army Nurse Corps in the late 1960s, a decision influenced by her family's legacy of military service. We also see her meet and fall in love with her future partner, Diane Divelbess (Judy Davis), while stationed in Germany.
The story then follows Cammermeyer's career trajectory as a nurse, a single mother raising four children, and a high-ranking officer serving in the Army Reserve. Throughout it all, she keeps her sexuality hidden, as the "don't ask, don't tell" policy comes into effect in the early 1990s. However, when her security clearance renewal comes due, she's forced to confront the reality of having to lie or tell the truth about a fundamental aspect of herself.
Glenn Close's performance as Margarethe is immaculate, emotional, and captivating throughout the movie. Her transformation from a strong and confident officer to a woman whose life is turned upside down by institutionalized discrimination is both heart-wrenching and inspiring to watch. Close manages to channel both Cammermeyer's steely resolve and her vulnerability with a rare nuance that makes us root for her all along the way.
Judy Davis plays the role of Diane with grace and depth, portraying her as Cammermeyer's rock, whose own sacrifices and struggles are sometimes overlooked in the larger story. Jan Rubes, as Margarethe's father, brings gravitas and poignancy to his role as a man of military tradition who finds himself at odds with his daughter's sexuality but eventually comes to understand and support her.
The movie's directing and production values are excellent, as well. Director Jeff Bleckner strikes an appropriate balance between the personal and the political, offering a nuanced portrayal of both the Cammermeyer family dynamics and the broader societal and legal issues at play.
In the end, Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story is a moving tribute to a remarkable woman who stands up for herself and others, despite the overwhelming odds against her. It's a story of love, sacrifice, courage, and resilience, and it's just as relevant today as it was when it first premiered over 25 years ago. Watch it if you want to be inspired, moved, and educated about a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history.
Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story is a 1995 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0.