Reviewed by Carol Hamilton
I want to get the word out to everyone at Stone Hill Church to see the movie Unbroken: Path to Redemption, A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. My husband Sut and I saw the film after church last Sunday at the AMC Theatre in Hamilton. (Spoiler alert: Billy Graham’s grandson, Will Graham, plays his grandfather in the film.)
Some of you may have seen the movie produced in 2014 by Angelina Jolie, which, like this sequel, is based on the book by Lauren Hillenbrand (Random House, 2010). Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner whose B-24 bomber was shot down over the Pacific during World War II. I couldn’t put the book down. Zamperini spends 47 days on a raft and then survives two and half years in three of Japan’s most brutal camps, where a sadistic officer known as “The Bird” psychologically tortures and beats him daily, which leaves him with post-traumatic stress syndrome. But he survives by using the skills he had picked up as a teenager, when he was an unrepentant thief and delinquent who liked to flout the law.
And that’s where this sequel picks up. The 2014 version left off the most important part of his story—the start of the road to redemption he found. Unbroken is a powerful testimony to how someone’s life can change 360 degrees once you make the commitment to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The film reveals the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
When Zamperini comes home, he handles his demons by drinking. His life falls apart, and his wife Cynthia files for divorce. But one day a neighbor, an African-American woman, invites Cynthia to Billy Graham’s 1949 Los Angeles Crusade, and she asks her husband to go with her. He finally relents, but runs out the back door when the evangelist starts talking about forgiveness. He goes home and grabs a bottle instead.
But the next night, he returns, and the movie shows him coming into the crusade and going forward and getting on his knees. He had accepted the message of forgiveness, prompted by his memory that when he was in the raft, he had promised God that if He would save his life, he would live for him.
After he accepted Christ, he goes home and pours out the alcohol out of all of the bottles he has hidden around the apartment. Then he starts walking the long road to forgiveness, and finally frees himself of the demons that had almost broken him.
This movie will be a real encouragement in your faith walk. It’s distributed by Pure Flix, the faith-based outlet best known for the “God’s Not Dead” film franchise. As Christians, we need to support these kinds of efforts. This wonderful story is also available as a young adult novel and a DVD.
Learn more about the book: