a sunrise ceremony on the beach in honor of D-Day
Charlotte Juergens. Courtesy First Run Features

The idea of a 20-year-old accompanying 90-somethings to a commemoration of D-Day—when they were 20 themselves—is not a bad one. There are ample opportunities to explore the similarities and differences between the generations, a chance to bridge what may at first appear to be vast chasms of perception and life experience. This is the challenge Charlotte Juergens set herself with this first-person documentary made to pay tribute to her grandfather, Pat, and his fellow vets. She bonds with several of the men on the trip, who all come to think of Charlotte as their own kin, replacing their own departed loved ones and standing in for Charlotte’s grandfather, who has passed and could not be with them on this trip.

The bond between the filmmaker and her subjects is palpable and her intentions are unassailable. Unfortunately, what Juergens presents onscreen comes across more like a loose scrapbook or vlog than a film. There is a lot of shaky cam, Dear Diary-type narration, and repeated, inexplicable shots of her own feet as she’s walking. I have no doubt that anyone related to Juergens or any of the vets included will be touched by her sincere tribute, but most others would have gotten more out of a magazine article or podcast about the same material. 91 min.

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