About two weeks ago I had the opportunity to watch Unbroken: Path To Redemption. This sequel continues where the predecessor left off telling the story of rescued war hero Louis Zamperini. Louis (played by Samuel Hunt) struggles to adjust to his civilian status while he is still haunted by dreams of his time in captivity. Capitalizing on his popularity, his superiors ask Lewis to start campaigning for War Bonds; he agrees with hesitation. His post-traumatic stress disorder continues leading him to drink; his superiors notice a change and insist he takes a mandatory vacation in Florida. This is where he Cynthia (Merritt Patterson)-his future wife. Over the next two weeks, the two of them fall in love and decide to get married. Zamperini looks for a job to support his family (and new baby) with no success; in the meantime, he grapples with even deeper questions. Why did he survive while his friends died??
These questions further intensified his PSTD, bringing back memories of him being the lone survivor in a boat questioning God. Committed to the marriage, Cynthia is determined to help her husband find some kind of passion in life again; for that reason, she decides to get him up and running again so he can participate in the upcoming Olympics. On a bet with his brother, Zamperini tries to run a mile in under seven minutes; tragically, he re-injures himself forever damaging his chances on the Olympics. There goes another dream down the tubes. What does God have against me-taking away everything I love, he thinks.
This anger leads him to drink on a daily basis until one day Cynthia threatens divorce; fearing she would leave him, he continues his drinking in secret. Meanwhile, his wife continues to go to church and seeks the advice of a friendly apartment neighbor. The neighbor advises, “Sometimes God uses our difficulties to prepare us for something bigger and greater in our lives.” Encouraged she starts to attend one of Billy Graham’s crusades and her life is changed forever. With prayerful consideration, she renews her commitment to the marriage and continues to urge her husband to join her and hear Billy Graham (played by Will Graham-Billy Graham’s grandson). Louis attends the revival for several nights but isn’t attached until Billy prays for someone who is drowning and in need of help. Louis gets up to leave but he is stopped when Billy interrupts his service by yelling “don’t go” seemingly talking to him if he were the only person in the room. From there, he goes home to empty all of his bottles and finally goes an entire night without any night terrors.
(Note: I may have missed a few plot lines here and there. In fact, I know I did.. As I forgot to mention the very beginning of the movie takes place years later when Louis is standing in front of the prison where he Was during the war by his captors; this time he has come to meet with the prisoners there (the ones that had previously captive) in particular, he is looking for the bird-not to kill him as he previously wished before God changed his heart on that fateful day but to forgive him and show him a little bit of God’s grace
In general, I was not expecting the movie to be as intense as it was. I know writers wanted the audience to feel as Louis had-experiencing his PTSD episodes right alongside him as I did. But I believe this is what made his transformation from a prisoner of war/alcoholic to a Christian even more remarkable.. This movie shows how intensely soldiers may suffer from PTSD when returning home from war. They sacrifice themselves to protect our freedoms-the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion just to name a few...
But even more than that, it shows us Christians how quickly our identities can become preoccupied with something we do rather than who we are in Christ. Now, I know you’re saying, “But Lewis wasn’t a Christian at first..” While that’s true, we are all human susceptible to the same insecurities as everyone else; we want to be able to support ourselves and not have to rely on others. On the contrary, Jesus teaches the exact opposite-that are identity should be found in Christ and nothing else.
For more information on this amazing sequel, please go to