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News of the World

Tom Hanks stars as Captain Kidd, a Civil War veteran whose job post-war is to travel from town to town, telling stories and reading the news from papers from different parts of the country. On his travels, he encounters Johanna, a young Kiowa Indian girl who was kidnapped from her parents 6 years previously and was essentially raised as a Kiowa girl. Her Kiowa parents had perished, and the Black man who was taking her back to her relatives in the South was ambushed and hung from a tree. Captain Kidd agrees to take her to her family, and the film is the story of that journey. I liked the film; I didn’t think it was great, and it was pretty standard Western genre fare. Some parts of it did not work well – it was rather unbelievable how a girl who didn’t know English managed to understand Captain Kidd so well. The film does capture the social and political context of the immediate post-Civil war era, although not as effectively as it could. The film gets a thumbs up from me. For those who like Tom Hanks, and the traditional Western genre, the film doesn’t disappoint, even if it could have been much stronger. (2020; 3.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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