Robert Redford plays a professor who is trying to buck up the ideas of a student who have much potential but is too jaundiced by society (and politicians who lead them into pointless wars) to really give a flying fig about much more than the latest celebrity gossip. He uses two former students who joined the army as an example of people who are trying to change things and who could act as beacons for the jaundiced students.
The third story examines the experiences of the two students who signed up for the war in the first place.
I'm not sure what sort of reviews the film has been getting, but I actually thought it was pretty good. It is the first film I've seen that makes the point that "we made this mistake, so we should try to get it sorted."