Dallas and I went to see the movie, Unbroken, last night, and came away with mixed emotions. I had read the book so my expectations were set. Going in, I wondered how the director, Angelina Jolie, would handle the issues of faith
If you’ve read the book, you may, like me, have come away with the feeling that the title, “Unbroken,” could have been better chosen. Because of my orientation to the Gospel, I would have called it Forgiven or Redemption. I resonate better with the tile of Zamporimi’s biography, Devil At My Heals. Given my evangelical Christian worldview, the imagery created by this title is more accurate.
While Zamperini is unbroken during his ordeal, he is a broken man when he arrives home following the war. The story is really about his encounter with Christ, his redemption, transformation and his forgiveness of those who mistreated him. Zamporini never hides this. But neither does he force this message on anyone.
I’ve read several reviews today of the movie (they’re plentiful and I have nothing really to add). The value, if anything, I would like to add is from the review given the movie by Zamperini’s son who reports that his dad used to say, “The great commandment is that we preach the gospel to every creature, but neither God nor the Bible says anything about forcing it down people’s throats.”
He goes on to say, “UNBROKEN tells my Dad’s story the way he told it: chronicling all he lived through so that what he did after becoming a Christian –forgiving his captors –would have the most resonance with audiences of all faiths, and no faith at all. I’ve talked to many people all across the country who have screened the film in advance, most of whom haven’t read Hillenbrand’s book and many of whom are not Christians, and their most common question to me is, “After all he went through, how was Louie able to forgive those guards who beat him so mercilessly?”Dad got those same questions, thousands of times over five decades plus, and he used them as an opportunity to explain how Jesus had removed the hate from his heart. Who knows how many people –hardened to the things of God –pondered his answer and now find themselves sharing heaven with my father because of it?”
That, according to Luke Zamporini, was his dad’s greatest hope for the film version of UNBROKEN, and I share that hope (and prayer).
If you want a balanced review of Unbroken, watch this CBS Sunday morning clip.