But He Wasn’t Unbroken

unbroken_ver4We went to see the movie Unbroken. I had read the book of the same name by Laura Hillenbrand and was disappointed that the movie omitted so much of the biography of war hero and Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini.  The film directed by Angelina Jolie focused on two dramatic and exciting experiences in Zamperini’s life- his 47 days afloat in a life raft in the Pacific Ocean and his time spent as a Japanese prisoner of war.  

The film leads us to believe he came through those experiences an unbroken man.  The movie ends after the war when Louis arrives in the United States and is reunited with his family.

Just before the screen credits roll we are shown photographs and text that lets us  know after his safe return home Louis married, had children, and carried the Olympic torch at the 1998 Olympics held in Japan. What the movie doesn’t tell us however was that he returned from war a broken man who had constant nightmares, drank too much and suffered from mental health problems.  His wife was on the verge of divorcing him when he had a spiritual awakening. He looked to God for help and managed to turn his life around. 

The movie leaves the impression that military service in war-time does not result in traumatic life long consequences.  It portrays a strong soldier, a tough guy who survives with his pride intact.  He is unbroken.  That rarely happens in real life and it didn’t happen to Zamperini.  He credits his return to some normalcy following his war-time ordeal to his ability to forgive his Japanese captors. 

On the CBS Sunday morning show this week they paid homage to famous people who had died in 2014 including Louis Zamperini. The  quote used for his tribute was…..”If you hate somebody, you’re not hurting the person you hate; you’re hurting yourself. It’s a real healing, forgiveness.”

Forgiveness allowed Zamperini to go on with his broken life and find healing and hope. The movie Unbroken didn’t really show us that. I think it would have been a better movie if it had. 

Other posts about movies…….

Winnipeg and Mennonites in Gone Girl

I Need to See a Happy Movie

Love in a Lunch Box

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