Semper Fi: One Marine's Journey (2007)

Semper Fi: One Marine's Journey (2007)
7.7
  • 120
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release year: 2007 ()
  • Running time: 73 min
  • Original Title: Semper Fi: One Marine's Journey
  • Voted: 120

A gay Marine ignores the pleas of his West Hollywood friends and ships with his unit to Iraq because he believes in answering his country's call. What he finds there breaks his heart and upon returning home he begins touring the country with a one man show against the war.

#PersonCharacters
  • an outstanding view of service life by 10

    As a retired Marine, I watched this film with a jaundiced eye, expecting some kind of whiny apologetic for gays being allowed to serve in the military. I figured it would be a kind of "Michael Moore-ish" blasting of the Marines. But what I saw was a real guy with a desire to serve his country who had the opportunity to serve in a war zone and try his part to do what America was told we were sent to Iraq to do: to bring democracy and freedom to the people there even though he had doubts about the war as a reaction to the 9/11 attack. I listened and watched Jeff Key deal with Iraqis, his fellow Marines and his sexuality in a mature, intelligent way. In the end, he felt compelled to admit his homosexuality and leave the Corps, but nothing I saw in the movie made he think he had done anything but serve his country and the Corps with honor. With interviews of family, friends from his gay life and from the Marines, films of his service in Iraq, and scenes from Key's one man show about his service, this movie ends up presenting, in a non-argumentative way, a persuasive argument for allowing gays to serve openly in the service.

  • A must see. by 10

    This film is a composite of interviews with Jeff Key, family and friends, home video and a nicely worked in narrative from a presentation of Key's own one man show. The film follows the stage presentation in the theater with stage narration over footage shot in Iraq interspersed with interviews and stills with family, friends and Key, himself. The director does a fine job of presentation given that he is working from Key's thoughtful material. The material flows smoothly and the editing is tight, never lingering too long in any one of its visual forms.

    About the story: Yes, OK, so he's gay. But this isn't the usual "coming out" story. Key has no ax to grind, no blame to place, and does no whining or posturing. He chronicles his journey of becoming a Marine and beyond openly and without rancor. Key wants to be a Marine based on values that are deep within him and he spends a considerable amount of time discussing them. This is that story, of how he reconciles his heritage, orientation and his family's values and acts with courage and honor. But ultimately he does question and draws his own conclusions; about us as a nation at war, about himself and ultimately through him, the question of how we all should act as Americans in the face of his revelations.

    This should be required viewing-a perfect civics lesson. It is touching, heartfelt and is a devastating comment on the disconnect between the a citizen's observation of reality on one side and the glossy picture painted with the rhetoric of legislative and executive branches on the other. The fact that Key is dealing with being gay along the way is almost a red herring; his observations ring true on so many levels. I am sure that there are many who should see this film who won't just because the word "gay" appears in the title. And maybe those are the very ones who need to.

  • Super Patriot - Super Cool by 10

    I just finished watching "Semper Fi." Jeff Key's writing is marvelous - maybe a bit over the top for a one-man stage show...yet his poetic use of plain English is a wonder. This is one case where I can't wait for the book. But "Semper Fi" is not the stage show - it is a documentary about the events that led to the creation of the show and therein lies its beauty. Jeff Key is an American all Americans can and should be proud of. He is a hero in many ways - his concern for the children of Iraq, his concern for the returning servicemen and women who are getting short shrift from their government, the rare veteran with the courage to question this administration's policies. My heartfelt thanks and congratulations go to Mr. Key. He has created a beautiful piece and it should be required viewing for all. I hope it gets the audience it deserves. I am a gay veteran (US Army) and I am thankful that someone like Jeff Key has had the opportunity to tell his story and the wisdom and talent to tell it well. Good going, Jeff.

  • One soldier's tale of war. by 10

    I just saw this documentary on Showtime. It was nothing short of terrific. I, also, was in the military so I can identify with Jeff. This was one moving documentary. If Jeff is ever in your town with this one-man show go and see it. I had tears in my eyes at the end along with the actual audience who was watching his live performance. He is an eloquent speaker and you will be clinging to his every word. Our military men and women are heroes in every way. Everyone needs to support them. The only shame is that not everyone is allowed to be a soldier. I believed Jeff when he said he always wanted to be a soldier. And he sure was a good one. Do not miss this documentary and tell your friends about it.

  • Everyone should watch by 10

    I have often cringed at the site of war movies, war documentaries. Maybe I cringed because it was real, and I live in a place so far removed. Maybe I cringed because I knew it was not a true portrayal compared to what I had heard from those who had been there. This film made me want to stand up and scream "THANK YOU!", for allowing me into your life Jeff, and for helping us all understand. It is moving, comical, realistic, heartbreaking, heartwarming, but most importantly it's honest. Jeff Key not only sets, in my opinion, a tremendous example for the Marine Corps and for all those who serve...but he sets an example for all human beings. The film covers all the bases, and cuts in and out of his own one man show based on his experience, his own pictures and film from his time in Iraq, and straight talking to the camera. It all meshes together for a poignant glimpse of one Marine's journey. This film could teach all of us, especially here in America, a little something about truth, loyalty, and the life of those in service.

#PersonCrew
1William Hookecinematographer
2Catocomposer
3Vince DiPersiodirector
4Jason Rosenfieldeditor
5Eda Godel Hallinanproducer
6Paul Jacekself
7Jeff Keyself
8Scotch Ellis Loringself
9Doug Spearmanself