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Critic's Pick

'Sommersby'

October 16, 1994|Kenneth Turan

Although uneven, it is surprising how close this 1993 reworking of the French film "The Return of Martin Guerre" gets to the traditional three-hankie satisfactions of classic '40s weepers. Set in 1867 in a benighted Tennessee hamlet, it stars Richard Gere in the title role as the town's biggest landowner, who strolls in after not having been seen nor heard from since he left for the Civil War seven years before. As surprised as his faithful old dog to see him is his wife (a radiant Jodie Foster). Gere, not at his best in costume pictures, and Foster prove persuasive anyway, amid an inordinate amount of Southern foolishness (HBO Sunday at 4 p.m.).

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