I was really impressed on multiple levels. Though the story is not speculative in nature, nor produced by a Christian company, it has many aspects that I believe are applicable on a personal level as well as from a writer's perspective.
For those of you who don't know, Unbroken follows the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian who ends up serving the U.S. during WWII. His plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean. He, along with two other crew members, floats in a tiny life raft for well over a month before being captured by the Japanese and placed in a prisoner of war camp. At one point, he is offered the chance to leave the camp if he publicly slanders the U.S., but he refuses.
The story of survival by itself is remarkable, but his courage is even more inspiring. To refuse the chance to leave takes more courage and moral fortitude than I think I have.
Another thing that struck me about the movie was Louis's faith. Although he was not a Christian at the beginning of his ordeals, he later becomes one. He credited his faith with allowing him to forgive those who mistreated him.
Here again, we have an inspiring aspect of the story. Rather than blaming God, or his captors, he realizes that God is bigger than his problems and actually helped him through the ordeal. He still might have held a grudge against his captors (which I think we can all understand), but he turned to God's grace to help him learn to forgive. How much we can learn from this!
From a Writer's Perspective
This movie wasn't a "Christian" movie, but it portrayed a Christian life as clearly as many movies that have been published as "Christian" (and I daresay that it was executed far better than if the story had been done by a Christian movie company).
There were several important ideas from a Christian writer's perspective that I thought important:
- Christian life wasn't portrayed as a cakewalk, because it isn't
- The "message" of the movie didn't overrun the story
- lose realism
- seem cliche
- lose readers (they probably didn't pick up a novel for a sermon)
- and lose the potential to have more than one meaning for the work (if you focus on the message, odds are you will only convey that message; readers will only pick that up, and nothing else)
- The writers didn't shy away from the ugly
Also, this is a war movie. It's expected to be ugly and rough; if it was anything else, it would ring false. A young adult adventure novel may "feel" perfectly fine without the grit.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! What else would you like to see as "extra" posts?