Excellent performances by Jude Law as the simple, honest man of few words who is shattered by the war, and comes back a skilled killer but wondering if he is a man any longer; Kidman, whose upbringing has prepared her for nothing more than an ornamental existence but who must learn to fend for herself or die; supporting actors Kathy Baker and James Gammon as neighbors Sally and Esco Swanger, who represent all that is good, honest and decent in the ravaged community; and Natalie Portman, whose portrayal of another widow left wretched and destitute is very affecting. Of course, the scene-stealing award for this piece goes to Renee Zellweger as the hoydenish Ruby, whose hard life even before the war has left her with a reserve of no-nonsense drive and ability that proves to be Ada's salvation.
Minor quibbles and comments: In the opening scenes, I was surprised by the dearth of black Union soldiers (the subject of Glory) who figured prominently in the Battle of the Crater. However, checking historical references, I find that the United States Colored Troops which were initially supposed to lead the assault, were replaced with regular troops at the last moment due to higher commander's doubts about their reliability—a move which lead directly to the Union disaster, since the blacks had been trained to go AROUND the crater rather than through it. They were then fed into the battle after it had been lost and incurred heavy casualties. Since Inman retires from the field early on bearing wounded, he would not have encountered many of the "colored" troops. I don't understand why Inman's hair turned from blonde to black over the course of the film: people don't get THAT sun-bleached working outdoors. I wondered if it was intended as a metaphor for the gradual darkening of his soul as events went on. Finally, we know that North Carolina occasionally gets snow, and my recollection is that the winter of 1864 was an exceptionally bitter one, but I found the deep snow and body-freezing prolonged cold shown in the final sequences to be a bit doubtful.
But these were minor considerations. All in all, we found it to be a very well done film and an affecting story.