There may be some war violence in Memorial Day, but this is clearly a film better suited for the Hallmark Channel than theatrical distribution. The saccharine storyline pushes the boundaries of emotional manipulation, all with the sole purpose of cinematically celebrating the holiday Memorial Day. The message along with the memorial is more than slightly muddled amidst the attempt to compare a grandfather’s experience in World War II with his grandson in
, leaving the film feeling both manipulative while uncertain about what it is trying to say. Iraq
James Cromwell is clearly the saving grace of the film as the aging grandfather who tells his grandson stories of wars past on Memorial Day in 1993. When grandson Kyle (Jonathan Bennett) grows up, he also becomes a soldier and has stories of his own to tell. It is not clear what the message is meant to be by connecting stories from a war now thought to be justified with one that still seems questionable to many. There is a little bit of action, but far more melodrama which appears to be attempting emotional manipulation with the story.
First time director Sam Fischer is better known for his technical work with a camera, so the film is far better looking than anything else. The war images are realistic enough, when the bad CGI effects can be ignored. The biggest problem with the movie is the screenplay and many of the supporting actors. The Blu-ray includes an audio commentary with prime suspects for the film’s demise, including director Fischer and writer Maec Conklin. Cromwell also joins in the commentary, and the special features also include a behind-the-scenes featurette.