Unbroken: Path to Redemption

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Unbroken: Path to Redemption Movie Poster Image
Faith-based sequel has violent moments, lots of drinking.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Promotes faith's power to heal. Also explores the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family to help and support people through dark times.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zamperini, who has endured unbearable circumstances, inspires a lot of people but also self-medicates with alcohol and can be inconsiderate, paranoid, rude while drunk. Cynthia is patient, loving, encouraging. Her faith gives her strength to be there for Louis when he's at rock bottom. Louis' family, particularly older brother Pete, are always there to help and support him and Cynthia.

Violence

Violent, vivid nightmares in which Louis imagines himself back on the raft, starving and about to die, or in the POW camp with the Bird taunting him and beating him. He imagines being forced to eat maggoty rice. He also has visions while awake. He lashes out, doing things like smashing a record, pushing a waiter, and even pushing and scaring his wife.

Sex

Flirting and a few kisses between Louis and Cynthia. Louis makes a mildly suggestive comment about how, on the raft, he and his friends spoke about Rita Hayworth and other beautiful girls, fixating on Hayworth's famous polka-dot bikini. Louis' best friend likes to try pickup lines.

Language

A use of "hell." Also "crazy," "ticked off," and the racial slur "Jap" to refer to the Japanese during WWII. A man jokes that "I didn't know they served Italians in here."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Louis is an alcoholic who drinks to excess on a regular basis. He drinks in bars, restaurants, in private. He sneaks drinks, hides bottles around his apartment. He drinks so much, so often that it's impossible not to know he's got a substance-abuse problem.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Unbroken: Path to Redemption is a faith-based follow-up to 2014's Unbroken. The sequel concentrates on Louis Zamperini's return to the United States after WWII. Also based on Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling book, this film continues Zamperini's (Samuel Hunt) story as he meets and marries Cynthia Applewhite (Merritt Patterson) and struggles with nightmares, PTSD, and alcoholism. There's a lot of alcohol use; Zamperini drinks in nearly every scene of the movie. There are also violent, traumatic scenes in Louis' flashbacks to his time on the raft and in the POW camp. Characters also kiss, make a few suggestive comments, and use the racial slur "Jap." Despite the edgy content, the movie has a message about the power of faith and love to transform and heal, as well as a strong theme of perseverance.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHobbitler September 14, 2018

Powerfully intense, but ultimately encouraging!

Powerfully intense, but ultimately encouraging! Makes one appreciative of those who paid the price of our freedom from tyranny!
Adult Written bysouthsy September 20, 2018

An excellent sequel to an incredible story

The second part of Zamperini's life is certainly worthy of more than what the first movie gave it, and the filmmakers have done an excellent job here. Exce... Continue reading

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What's the story?

UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION is a faith-based drama that's based on of Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling book and continues the story begun in 2014's Unbroken. The sequel focuses on Louis Zamperini's (Samuel Hunt) difficult return home and PTSD after surviving both 47 days adrift in the Pacific and being tortured in a POW camp in Japan for two years during WWII. The movie particularly focuses on Zamperini's early marriage to his wife, Cynthia (Merritt Patterson), and how it becomes increasingly troubled because of his self-medication with alcohol, which turns him into a paranoid, angry drunk. Eventually, the movie shifts to how Cynthia's faith and her encouragement to attend a Billy Graham revival change Louis' life.

Is it any good?

This slightly unnecessary but well-acted drama explores how faith and family saved Zamperini from years of harrowing nightmares and PTSD. While the story of Louis' return home isn't quite as riveting as the Olympics and WWII portions of the first Unbroken, the lead actors both earnestly convey how the Zamperinis struggled with his alcoholism early in their marriage. And unlike some faith-based films that are heavy handed with conversion themes, the evangelism in Unbroken: Path to Redemption is reserved for the end of the movie, when Will Graham (Billy Graham's grandson) plays his famous grandfather leading his legendary revivals.

The movie's story is fairly straightforward, with several scenes of Louis drinking, making embarrassing/insulting/paranoid comments and then drinking again. Meanwhile, Cynthia looks wide-eyed and disappointed but also patient and steadfast each time he cycles through his episodes. It's a shame there isn't more than just a passing sequence related to Zamperini's return to Japan, since reportedly Louis' time with the Japanese war criminals was profound for both the soldiers and the American war hero. The idea that becoming a born-again Christian is a miraculous cure to substance abuse may also leave nonbelievers skeptical, but this is ultimately a film that fills the void that many in the evangelical community felt Angelina Jolie's Unbroken left by ignoring Zamperini's conversion story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the depiction of violence in Unbroken: Path to Redemption. What's the difference between war-based violence and more stylized or fantasy violence? Do they have the same impact?

  • Who would you say is the intended audience for this film? Did you think it was obvious that the movie is faith-based?

  • How is Louis' alcohol use handled and depicted in the movie? Does it portray the consequences of substance abuse?

  • How do the characters demonstrate compassion and perseverance? Why are those important character strengths?

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