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Unbroken: Movie Review and Family Conversation Starters

The film Unbroken has been nearly 50 years in the making. After acquiring the rights to the story of Olympic runner and war hero, Louis Zamperini, Universal sat on the project for nearly 60 years. After Zamperini’s biography, written by Laura Hillenbrand, became a best seller in 2010, the movie finally found it’s legs.

While the book also focuses on Zamperini’s life following the war, much of the movie is focused on Zamperini’s life before the war and through his liberation from a Japanese prison camp. Notably, Zamperini returned to many of his captors and torturers to offer forgiveness following his newfound relationship with Jesus Christ. Though this is scarcely a mention at the end of the film, Zamperini begs God to spare his life early in the film and promises to ‘do whatever you ask’.

Following that declaration, he finds himself a Japanese prisoner of war after a near fatal plane crash and almost two months adrift at sea. He is emaciated, tortured, beaten, and targeted. Though weakened, he never relents.

This true story is definitely not suitable for folks under the age of 13. And though it has a PG­13 rating, parents should be aware that the content and ‘spirit’ of the moving is deeply troubling. Because the faith and forgiveness aspects of the film are mentioned but not portrayed, the film borders on depressing. And sensitive movie­ goers will struggle with the agonizing torture of Zamperini.

That said, the movie is a triumphant portrayal of strength, character, and patriotism. With faith references littered throughout, it’s easy to find opportunities for discussion at home.

And certainly the strength of will of the lead character gives rise to facing trials and developing character through adversity and perseverance. (James 1, Hebrews 12).

Unbroken: Post-Movie Conversation Starters for Parents of Teenagers

  • In what ways did you see God show up in the movie? How was it like or unlike what you’ve experienced in your own life?
  • Has anyone ever seen potential in you that you didn’t see yourself? What was the potential, and how has it affected you to discover it?
  • Sometimes our sincerest prayers are offered in a time of desperation. When have you experienced the feelings of desperation? What did you do about it?
  • After Zemperini’s prayer, he still faces capture and years of torture. Why do you think he didn’t turn against God when he suffered for years and asked God for rescue?
  • We know that Zemperini gave his life to Jesus and then returned to forgive his captors. What would make it difficult to face this part of his history?

For a super in-depth movie review of Unbroken, check out Focus on the Family's "Plugged In" review.


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