I saw the movie “Unbroken, Survival, Resilience and Redemption” Throughout the movie I kept asking myself where’s the redemption part? They left it out other than a short few minutes at the end. To me it was a movie of abuse. They focused almost the entire movie on the struggle when he survived a plane crash and the abuse and mistreatment in the Japanese POW camp. I compared it to movie about my life story and it focusing on all the abuse, rapes and chronic trauma I experienced and leaving the part where I turned my life around to a couple screens with words at the end. A movie that was billed as “a true story” vs “based on a true story” should show the entire story. We all want to see how it turned out in the end. It left much to be desired with its short fast forward through redemption. The viewer doesn’t really get a glimpse of what went on. We were left incomplete in the end in my opinion and many others from what I have read.
They pretty much left the redemption out. It was relegated to a couple of black screens with words at the end to talk about his struggle. They ended the movie with him coming home and hugging his family then showed the real photo (above) with a couple screens about him having PTSD and how he turned his life around a few years later and went back to Japan to meet his captors and ran in the Olympics as a torch carrier in Japan. That was a short 5 minutes or less about the “redemption.” They could have done a lot more about with his PTSD struggles and the fact that he was an abusive alcoholic and that he went to a Billy Graham Crusade, committed his life to Jesus and turned his life around. He quit drinking, smoking, no more night terrors etc. He chose to forgive his captors and went back to Japan to see them and personally forgive them. This was glazed over and made the movie nothing but a struggle with a short bit at the end about redemption.
I was disappointed that they left that part as unimportant. I was thinking as the movie went on that this was all about the abuse he suffered and that I wasn’t enjoying it at all. I wanted to know how he fared in the end, what was his life like when he came back? How was he going to recover from all that he endured? They did a poor job on that part, probably because he credits much of his turning his life around to turning his life over to God.
My son asked me why would he want to go back to Japan and visit the people and place he was held captive and actually forgive them. This is a great teaching moment and could have been included in the movie even if Hollywood wanted to skim over the mention of Jesus. It’s simple, forgiveness is the best way to have peace and he was able to forgive. Part of the forgiveness process is to visit the people you hold resentment towards and make amends. This could have been a significant part of the movie and added some humanity and actual redemption into the plot.
Someone might say; why should I make amends to someone who destroyed my life? Good question. It’s not about you, it’s about releasing the anger inside of you so you can be permanently free. I personally have gone to my parents graves to read letters to them forgiving them, they were sick from alcoholism. I did it with men who abused me, with people who hurt me, with those who I hurt and asked them for forgiveness.
My forgiving them or releasing any resentment towards them, releases me from the prison of anger and resentment that clouded my life. My asking for forgiveness from those I hurt makes me responsible for my actions and serves as a turning point in my life to change and never be that person again. I sat individually in front of each of my kids with a counselor and asked for their forgiveness for the many mistakes I made as a mother. It was the hardest thing I ever did but the best thing ever. We all make mistakes but it’s very empowering to actually admit to those mistakes and ask for forgiveness.
Even if the person doesn’t forgive you or want to meet with you, it’s still a freeing exercise for you. You’ve made the effort and taken it as far as you can go. I had one person I wanted to make amends to refuse to talk to me. I contacted him through social media and mutual friends. He refused. I actually had a dream that I met with him and made amends and he accepted it. I hope one day to get to do it in person but I know in my heart I did all I could, that’s all anyone can ask.
We can’t change our past, we can only make a decision to change who we are to change our present and future. Louis Zamperini was a veteran who served his country. He fought and endured what most of us cannot even imagine. His story was cut short but if you see the movie and want the rest of the story (along with reading the book), the Billy Graham Association has put together a DVD with Louis story of redemption. I have ordered it myself to see that part of the story that was missing in the movie but apparently is in the book (ordering the book as well). Click here for more information: http://billygraham.org/landingpages/unbroken/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=SearchAd&utm_campaign=NN-Zamperini&SOURCE=BY14CZGGS&gclid=CIeYv9uf7sICFfFaMgod0U0A2g
Also, here are a couple of reviews that talk about what they also thought was missing from the film:
One final note. I had to ask 2 young men next to me to be quiet through the movie. They kept talking and laughing. While veterans are coming back with PTSD from the trauma they are experiencing, very very few have had to endure the level of trauma WWII, Korean War and Vietnam Veterans endured in POW camps. In the past when I have met WWII veterans (there are very few left living) I can’t help but cry because I think what our world would be like had we not gotten involved in WWII. We should show reverence and respect to all veterans who have served. It is certainly not a laughing matter.