We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"Sommersby" is a square peg pounded into a round hole - or, more exactly, a medieval European story that has been unsuccessfully updated to the period of the American Civil War. The plot hinges on a deception that was just barely believable when set at the time of the Hundred Years' War, where it could play off the superstition that a man might be transformed by war. In its present version is not believable at all.
The film is a remake of "The Return of Martin Guerre," a fine French film from the early 1980s, which starred Gerard Depardieu and Nathalie Baye in the story of a rural woman who waits many years for her husband to return from the war. When he finally does return, he seems like a different man. He is kinder, gentler, a better lover, and she gradually forgets the husband she had learned to fear.
I cannot discuss this plot intelligently without revealing a secret, the same secret carelessly revealed in the trailers and TV commercials for the movie. Do not read further if you have so far escaped this information.
The man who has returned, of course, is not the same man who left. The woman's husband met this other man in the midst of war.