Film Review: Unbroken — 4 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Powerful!

 

SUMMARY: A U.S. Olympic athlete turned WWII Airman survives a plane crash, 45 days on the open sea, and the remainder of the war in a Japanese prison camp… all the while remaining unbroken.

DETAILS: Based on the true life experiences of Louis Zamperini, Unbroken tells the story of a U.S. Olympic athlete turned WWII Airman (Jack O’Connell) who survives a plane crash in the ocean, 45 days on the open seas, and the remainder of the war in a Japanese prison camp. Zamperini continually hears his brothers words of encouragement though all of his trials, beatings, and torturous experiences. In the end he remains unbroken and eventually chooses to forgive his enemies. This screenplay, written by Joel & Ethen Coen (and others) contains several scenes that portray strong themes of faith and redemption, including a “crucifixion” scene, and a beautiful baptism scene where Louis and all the prisoners ultimately receive their redemption. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the story doesn’t cover the entire novel by the same name, but certainly is an inspiring telling of Zamperini’s early life.

 

SCORE: 4.0 out of 5 stars

RELEASE: 2014
RATING: PG-13

The Giver — 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: 1984ish

SUMMARY: In a world where all emotions have been neutered, a young man sets out to free them all.

DETAILS: Based on the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry, The Giver tells the story of a young man in a world free of emotion. Each individual is assigned work based on their giftedness, but Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is special. He’s given the responsibility to carry the history for the people, an extremely rare assignment that literally places the emotional weight of the world on the one who carries it. The Giver (Jeff Bridges) shares his gift with Jonas who soon learns that he has the opportunity to help bring emotions back to his world.

They say I should have read the book before seeing the movie. I wish I had. I really wanted to like this more, but certain parts of the story (i.e. the boundary being crossed to restore emotion) just fell flat for me.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

RELEASE: 2014
RATING: PG-13

The Fault In Our Stars — 3 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Sad

SUMMARY: A depressing ride to death through the lives of people with no hope to hold onto.

DETAILS: Sad… this film is sad on a couple of levels. Sad in that it deals with death and dying. Our main characters are on their way to the grave. But more sad in that no one in the film has a hope to hold onto… there is no afterlife, no heaven, no God, no hope. The brief glimpse of any Christian influence is done in a mocking manner of a cancer support group leader who makes a hook rug of Jesus and is portrayed in a very cheesy way. The part that I did like was the Willem Dafoe character… who really is the God character in the film. He is the author of book that our heroes love… but the book literally ends in the middle of the sentence. Our characters must travel across the sea to meet this author and ask him why and what really happened next. When they arrive they are sorely disappointed and they learn that “God doesn’t care about them or for them” or so they perceive. But in the end this God character comes to our heroine and leaves letter that she won’t read until later, a letter that brings an element of redemption. The farther I get from this movie, the more I like it… or at least parts of it. Or maybe I just like being far from it???

SCORE: 3 out of 5

RELEASE: 2014
RATING: PG-13