Friday, December 26, 2014

Half-Truth In Movie 'Unbroken'---Why Did Angelina Jolie Leave Out the Pivotal Conversion of Louis Zamperini's Amazing Conversion Story?---Count Me Out of Another Godless Hollywood Half-Life



Angelina  Jolie, a woman clearly at the top of her game, probably didn't tell Lous Zamperini's  real and full story in her movie Unbroken because she doesn't believe it or care to give it any credence.  Jolie wants to give all the credit to Louis and seems to be a woman who knows nothing of faith.

After all, conversion to Jesus Christ ---especially at a Billy Graham crusade for heaven's sake--- isn't politically or spiritually correct these days. So why not leave it out? 

In her world, we're all our own gods who can save and transform ourselves with enough courage and perseverence and no help from above.   No wonder the movie rang only half-true and got such  low ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences, however, are more sanguine about the movie, no doubt because of Jolie's star power.

Below, Cal Thomas writes a very worthwhile review:

NEW YORK—I wanted to like the movie because I love the book. Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller Unbroken is a classic. While I had heard reports that the turning point in the book never made it to film, I attended a pre-release screening with an open mind.

Audiences are told Unbroken is a “true story.”

It is true, as far as it goes, but the story is incomplete.

There have been many World War II stories told in film depicting triumphs of personal courage and survival. The story of Louis Zamperini is one such story, but with an added dimension. Zamperini, who died earlier this year at age 97, came home an angry man. He became addicted to alcohol and cigarettes and verbally abused his young wife as he wrestled with his inner demons.

The skeleton of his story is in the film—the plane crash at sea while on a rescue mission; the 47 days floating on a raft before being picked up by a Japanese ship and thrown into a prison camp; the relentless torture and eventual liberation at the end of the war.

After returning to Los Angeles we see Zamperini hugging his brother and parents, but the story ends there. Director Angelina Jolie attempts to put some flesh on the bones at the end of the film with some still shots and words that tell us that Zamperini’s faith led him to return to Japan on a personal mission of reconciliation.

In media appearances, Jolie has refused to discuss why the most remarkable part of Zamperini’s story was excluded from the film. That would be the night he was converted at the 1949 Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles. As Hillenbrand tells it in her book, Zamperini came home, poured his alcohol down the drain, threw out his cigarettes, was reconciled to his wife, and became a new man because, he said, he had asked Jesus Christ to be his savior.

As stories about faith have made a recent comeback on TV and in movies, attracting high ratings and large ticket sales at the box office, it is puzzling why Jolie, who directed the film, and the Coen brothers, who wrote it, left out the most important part of Zamperini’s story.

Once word gets around that Zamperini’s conversion, which was so faithfully and beautifully chronicled in Hillenbrand’s book, is not in the film, I suspect many who share Zamperini’s faith may not buy tickets.

Apologists for Universal Pictures say people can always read the rest of the story in the book. Yes, they can, but then why should they see a film that highlights only half a life?

Just before he died, Jolie showed Zamperini a rough cut of the film. He professed to like it and said it doesn’t force religion down people’s throats. That’s a cliche, which doesn’t really fit in this instance.

Nothing is “forced” when it is true. The film, Selma, which is scheduled for release on Jan. 9, would be incomplete if it failed to depict Martin Luther King Jr. as a minister whose faith motivated him to be a modern-day Moses.

Fortunately, in addition to Hillenbrand’s book, people can read Zamperini’ story in his own words. His book is titled Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life. The One who preserved his life to the end is more powerful than his Japanese prison camp abuser. In the film Kings Row, Ronald Reagan awakens to learn that a botched operation has resulted in the amputation of his legs. “Where’s the rest of me?” he asks.

Where’s the rest of Zamperini’s story is the question I had after seeing Unbroken. 

Good question, Cal. And thanks for saving me a movie ticket.  But I'll probably buy the book read with true delight.

Meanwhile,  more on Brangelina's hip and confusing parenting style with Shiloh.

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