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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Indivisible is a faith-based drama about a real Army chaplain, Darren Turner (Justin Bruening), who struggles to re-enter his community -- as well as his marriage -- after a 15-month deployment in which he witnesses the deaths and injuries of soldiers to whom he was ministering. The movie should appeal to fans of movies with Christian themes, but be ready for potentially disturbing war violence, including a scene in which Darren holds a dead girl, and a firefight between U.S. Army tanks and Iraqi insurgents. One supporting character dies, and another loses a limb. Language isn't an issue, but a character does drink (offscreen) and come home drunk. Married couples deal with various struggles, including PTSD and drinking. Couples (all of them married) kiss and embrace. Families can discuss faith, friendship, and military service, as well as how committed the Turners are to preserving their marriage.
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What's the story?
Based on the real-life experiences of Army Chaplain Darren Turner (Justin Bruening) and his wife, Heather Turner (Sarah Drew), Indivisible is a faith-based drama. It follows how Darren's 15-month deployment in Iraq in 2007 changed both him and Heather to the point that his return home shook both his faith and the foundations of their marriage. After six years of campus ministry and a seminary education, Darren feels called by God to become an Army chaplain. Right after his commission, he's deployed overseas, leaving Heather and their three kids (8, 6, and 10 months) behind at the base. While Darren tends to the soldiers in his infantry battalion -- some of whom are believers, others skeptics -- Heather works with other wives on various projects, from bereavement support to Gold Star families to morale-boosting initiatives. But when Darren returns, having lost some of his men, he's changed and distant. Darren and Heather have to find a way to trust God with their marriage and move forward.
Is it any good?
This relationship drama about an Army chaplain and his wife struggling to cope after deployment is one of the sweeter entries in the faith-based genre. And one of the Indivisible filmmakers must be a Grey's Anatomy fan, because not only did Bruening and Drew play an off-again, on-again couple on that beloved medical soap, but Jason George (doc-turned-firefighter Ben Warren) plays supporting character Major Michael Lewis, and the chaplain's sergeant friend is named Shonda. (That's one too many Shondaland references to seem like pure coincidence.) The casting also explains why both Bruening and Drew and Bruening and George have such believable chemistry and rapport: They've worked together many times. The dialogue can be predictably preachy at times, but the performances are notably good. Bruening and Drew give a genuinely nuanced portrayal of a devoted Christian husband and wife in crisis.
The cast also includes Tia Mowry as Michael's put-upon wife, who's thrilled when she notices that Darren has begun to influence her husband's behavior toward her. Tanner Stine and Madeline Carroll play Lance and Amanda Bradley -- a young millennial couple dealing with the difficulties of being in the early years of marriage (with a baby and pregnancy to boot) and the separation and isolation that deployment brings. Director David G. Evans doesn't shy away from the residual effects of a wartime deployment. Despite his religious position and beliefs, Darren still comes home with PTSD and is unable to communicate with his wife. Naturally he and Heather overcome their struggles, but some heavy themes are explored, so the movie is most likely to appeal to Christian couples, rather than whole families.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of faith-based films like Indivisible. What audiences are they aimed at? Do they appeal equally to viewers of faith and secular audiences?
Do you have to be a person of faith to understand or appreciate what Darren -- and the movie -- is saying about faith, family, PTSD, and marriage?
Do you think the violent war scenes were necessary to the story? Why or why not? How do they affect the different soldiers?
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