Yesterday I had the honor of seeing the unbelievable true story of courage, survival, resilience and redemption through forgiveness. I went to see Unbroken. And before I begin, let me say I have not read the book.
The basic story line is that after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he’s caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. But there is so much more to learn about American hero Louis Zamperini and his character.
I read a few reviews that called the movie predictable, fine, and mediocre. I can only guess they were hoping for something with more computer generated graphics to make it larger than life and exploit the genuine content of the story. Unbroken is real and deals with Louis’ struggles beyond war, beyond men, beyond race, beyond countries’ borders, but of deep faith beyond persecution.
Maybe those reviewers didn’t appreciate that Jolie wasn’t making an action movie, but created a character driven piece. That’s what made this a winning movie for me because she revealed the inner struggle to match the physical Louis was up against. This is a very real struggle many veterans face.
After speaking with a man who knew Louis Zamperini, I believe the film followed his life accurately. It shows Louis to survive WWII unbroken, character intact and with a heart of a true hero. The lesson to be taken away from Unbroken is the value and power of forgiveness, not just for the other person, but mostly for yourself. Forgive in all that the world has given you and you will leave a gift greater than yourself.
I was unfamiliar with the lead actor Jack O’Connell, but he proved himself with this great performance. He embodies the characteristics of Louis Zamperini and the life he lived, I’ll watch for him in more starring roles.
Unbroken is intellectually fulfilling, without extraneous scenes and the uplifting story is told very straightforward. It’s not a fluff film about friendships made during the war. And when the war, and movie, ends there isn’t a big hoopla. These men, like my grandfather, simply went home to their families, and back to work.
This is a story that needed to be told, as our WWII heros are quickly passing away like Mr. Zamperini did earlier this year. Do yourself a favor and see this movie. You won’t regret it.