MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
It’s always a pleasure to see a Christian film that deals with something of importance from a faith-based perspective. There have been more than a few movies about war’s negative impact upon returning veterans but all too often God is left out of the picture. Indivisible is based on the true story of Darren (Bruening) and Heather (Drew) Turner, an Army chaplain and wife, and how Darren’s 2007 deployment to Iraq (as part of the surge) placed burdens upon both of their lives.
Darren served for a few years as a campus minister after seminary and feels up to the challenges of being a chaplain overseas, even though his commanding officer (Michael O’Neill) advises him of the demands, and the heavy drinking and anger of Michael Lewis (Jason George), a soldier who lives next door to his family on the base, shows hard evidence of how multiple tours of duty can break down a person’s spirit.
As Darren gets to work outside of Al Sakhar Province, he faces skepticism and pushback from many of the soldiers, including Michael. But he faithfully shares Christ with the men and women of his unit and eventually sees God at work touching lives, leading to faith decisions and baptisms. I have often faulted recent Christian films for downplaying Jesus in order to reach a crossover audience; it was refreshing to see Christ on full display here. The film is also unafraid to face up to some of the deeper questions and doubts that come when casualties of war take their toll. Although Darren is not involved in any fighting, his experiences seeing death from the sidelines is enough to create real emotional distress. (There is one casualty that is unfortunately foreshadowed in a predictably corny way, but nevertheless handled well after tragedy strikes.)
There are no easy answers in this film and even healing from pain is accompanied with collateral damage. The film is excellent in showing the strain on a family with a father away for 15 months overseas and the courage required of the caregiver at home who has to watch over children and assist other wives.
Indivisible is a family-friendly film (for age 12 and over) that honors those who serve in an all-volunteer armed forces, paying tribute to military chaplains. I hope that this film attracts a wider audience, especially when its video release opens up possibilities for church discussion groups. This is a quality movie.
Fun fact: Sandie Angulo Chen from Commonsense Media pointed out that Justin Bruening and Sarah Drew starred together in Gray’s Anatomy as a romantic couple, along with Jason George. Chaplain Darren’s assistant is also named Shonda (a shout out to the creator of Grey’s Anatomy).
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Four halos: Faith tested overseas during wartime and at home during and after deployment.
Two pitchforks: Offscreen war violence; alcohol abuse; scenes of PTSD.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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