MovieChat Forums > Heaven & Earth (1993) Discussion > Question about Tommy Lee Jones' characte...

Question about Tommy Lee Jones' character


*** SPOILERS ***



I watched this movie a long time ago and only remember that Tommy Lee's character killed himself in the end. Does anyone know why? I was confused about that part. Did he kill himself because Le Ly was going to leave him or did he kill himself because of depression in general? I know his character suffers a lot emotionally from the war.

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Tommy Lee Jones character "Steve" committed suicide at the end of the film because of both, his battle with depression, as well as the fact that Ly Le was leaving him. I think it was more his depresion than the separation though. His entire career was based in war, a professional soldier, with no war left to fight. Most combat veterans come home with post tramatic stress disorder, then and now. He tried to leave it behind, but once out of the military, he had no more usefulness, so he thought. His life evolved around war and weapons, so that was, to him the only way to leave. The only thing that puzzled me was the fact he committed suicide nude.

The movie, to me, has a great personal meaning to me, and I have watched it many time, with the exception of the rape scene, the only part of the film I have trouble watching.

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Why was she leaving him? Because she was no longer able to stand his depression problems or was it his way of spending money on what she considered unnecessary things? I vaguely remembered them fighting over him spending money on guns.

I remembered not liking Ly Le very much towards the end of the movie. Then again, keep in mind I watched this movie when I was younger. But I remembered all of the men in her life were treating her badly and it was Tommy's character who was the only one who took good care of her. He took her out of VN, provided her with a better life and in the end she wanted to leave him? That's what was so wrong to me.

Furthermore, she took her son back to VN to see his biological father (the guy she worked for when she was younger). This person didn't even had the gut to protect her back then, so why did she even bother having father and son reunited when that person wasn't much of a father to begin with. In all those years, Tommy's character seemed to serve as a better father figure. I just don't get it.

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Tommy's character was abusive. If my husband put a gun up to my head I'd leave too.

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I also wondered about her taking her son back home to meet his father, there seemed no logical reason for her to do so, especially since he threw her out on the street when she was pregnant and offered no financial support.

"We're making a film here, not a movie."

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Actually, it was mentioned in the voiceover that the father of the oldest son did try to support Le Ly and their son, but his wife prevented any money from ever reaching them. In the book, it was also mentioned he helped arrange transportation back to her home village when she returned to Vietnam.

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Agree with you completely. buddy.

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I agree on the reasoning of canhsat501, but Steve committing suicide naked isn't that puzzling.

Fact or drama, I don't know but from a dramatic point of view, nudity may signify vulnerability, birth [perhaps in the buddist sense here]... It could be "arty" or a fact - but I don't know.

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He was born and came in this world nude, He died and left this world nude.

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I think you guys are getting it wrong. If you think back to what they were talking about on the phone before he killed himself you would remember that Ly Le was talking about getting back together. He saw her compassion, and felt awful because he had not shown her such compassion.

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I think you guys are getting it wrong. If you think back to what they were talking about on the phone before he killed himself you would remember that Ly Le was talking about getting back together. He saw her compassion, and felt awful because he had not shown her such compassion.


This makes more sense to me than what others have said. When she was on the phone with Steve, she was cooperative and compassionate with him, whereas he seemed ruthless about getting things his way. It didn't seem like she was going to leave him. Rather, it seemed like she wanted to make amends with him and continue forward.

I came here because I was puzzled about why he shot himself (especially at the time he did), but I think I got the answer.

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But just before he Steve killed himself, he was on the phone with Ly, and she wanted to get back together again and be with him again. Then he hung up the phone and cried and committed suicide.

I don't understand why he did that if she was going to give them another chance together?

Also, what was Steve's problem? He was promised a job and he didn't get it? Why couldn't he find another job that wasn't military related? Didn't the military give him benefits? He looked old enough to earn a pension.

The scenes where Ly is overwhelmed by all the excess food in the supermarkets and in Steve's family home was funny and revealing of what life in America is like. Oliver Stone was a genius to film it all from a low angle so we could see Ly's perspective, as short as she was, of how big everything looked. lol



http://www.happierabroad.com - The Overseas Solution for Single Men

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I thought that was the best part of the movie. In most movies that bring immigrants from poor parts of the world to America, grocery stores and refrigerates are amazing and wonderful. This movie shows them as symbols of wanton waste and gluttony.

Enjolras/Grantaire '32

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Tommy's character was only nice with Ly Le in the first years of their relantioship.
After that, he became an awful man, who was violent. with her.

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For gawds sake people, listen to Stones voice-over on the DVD it will answer most of the questions you ask.

A brilliant Film.

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dude, not all of us own the dvd

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"
I watched this movie a long time ago and only remember that Tommy Lee's character killed himself in the end. Does anyone know why? I was confused about that part. Did he kill himself because Le Ly was going to leave him or did he kill himself because of depression in general? I know his character suffers a lot emotionally from the war."

actually, his character is an amalgamation of different husbands of Ly Le. Tommy Lee Jones characters were split between at least two husbands (according to her biography "When Heaven and Earth Changed Places")

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I thought the reason he killed himself was because he was so deeply in trouble with money and people coming after him. Did I get the wrong impression? It seemed he only knew how to deal with problems by violence. I understood Le Ly taking her son back to meet his biological father. He was a weak man, but not terrible, and the son seemed eager to meet him. And the trip to Viet Nam was meant for facing unresolved issues in their lives.

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Steve (Tommy Lee) had killed people in that war in a very CIA type of way, gruesome and nasty and if sin/Karma is NOT washed away it haunts you for the end of days. It's hard to have a family when you are a killer plus he been divorced before which says something.

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You. Not U. Using childish abbreviations robs your post of its impact. It is only a little extra effort. Try it.

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U would pick the lice off a deadman's nutsac, wouldn't U mr. childish, didn't U teach @ Florida Universtiy? I loved their initals, try sounding it out, just try it, it's real easy to do.

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dudes,

steve (Tmoomy Lee Jones) killed himself b/c he knew that in order to respond to Le Ly's love for him was to find himself, as Le Ly put it "the man I fell in love with in Vietnam". He had been out of control for so long he was afraid he could not find his stable, loving self again.

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He was all messed up. He did the black ops stuff in VN so some PTSD, had the other ex wife and two other kids, the civvy job he hoped for didn't pan out and he mentioned he was facing an "admin board", he was kicked out of the Marines for unknown reasons, probably for being an administrative burden. Plus Le's call to come home was fake, she only did it because the old monk told her to.

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The way I interpreted it was that since he was a trained killer and there was nothing for him to kill, he shut down. Depression over money and the fact that he has guilt from doing CIA's dirty jobs was enough to make him commit suicide.

Your nobody until somebody kills you.

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Yeah. I figured that he was haunted and paranoid because of all the murders that he had done and the gruesome and torturous ways that he had committed these murders. He was likely depressed, consumed with guilt, paranoia and extremely stressed. His financial situation (bankruptcy, child support, alimony, etc.), not being able to find a job, being kicked out of the Marine corps and the realization that he would never be able to live up to whatever lie he told her to get her to leave Vietnam, along with everything else that was going on with him. When Ly Le offered to stop the divorce, she was just desperate to get her kids back. He knew that she was just desperate and that the marriage wasn't going to work, no matter how badly he wanted it because she didn't love him anymore.

Happy 2014!!!

Arimas, Samira

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Anytime Le Ly was kind to him he then realized how completely hopeless he was as a person. Imagine he also realized how dangerous he was.
May have been the only way to ensure he kept those he cared about safe.

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