Dispatches

Movie Review: Indivisible

Would your marriage survive this? 


Chaplain Darren Turner (Justin Bruening) speaks to troops before a patrol.
Photo courtesy of © 2018 Provident Films and The WTA Group. All rights reserved.

Could your marriage or romance survive the stresses that this film portrays?  

Any relationship has its struggles, but military families face significant and sometimes unique tensions. Lengthy separation. Difficulty maintaining personal contact during deployment. Death and injury. Battlefield trauma and PTSD at home. It's enough to drive a wedge between the closest of partners.

Indivisible tackles these challenges candidly. Not shy about combat, not sugarcoated about marriage, not syrupy about faith—it's the poignant saga of a U.S. Army chaplain sent to encourage the troops at war who learns he needs encouragement himself. It will touch hearts and minds.

The true story of decorated Army chaplain Darren Turner and his wife, Heather, inspired this film from multiple production companies including Sony's Provident Films. Stars include: Sarah Drew, Justin Bruening, and Jason George (all of Grey's Anatomy), plus Tia Mowry-Hardrict (Sister, Sister), Madeline Carroll (I Can Only Imagine), Tanner Stine (The Thundermans) and Skye P. Marshall (Black Lightning). 

Armed Forces veteran Skye P. Marshall plays Sgt. Shonda Peterson, assistant to Chaplain Darren Turner.
Photo courtesy of © 2018 Provident Films and The WTA Group. All rights reserved.

Optimism and hard questions

Darren (Bruening) has his heart set on serving his nation and helping soldiers through difficult battle circumstances. He brings empathy, optimism and faith to his battalion, as he talks with members who see a longtime teammate killed and seeks to answer their hard questions. "If I die here, who will take care of my family?" "How could a good God allow an innocent young girl—whose wish was to be closer to Him—to be killed?"  

Soldiers' openness varies. A single mom feels she's an unworthy mother and doesn't know how to be a good one, but she eventually wants to become a better mother. A hardened veteran resists Darren's attempts at friendship, as he warns the chaplain not to discuss his rocky marriage.

Back at home, Heather (Drew) diligently raises their three young kids while volunteering as a support resource for other military spouses. She organizes Christmas stocking stuffers for the troops and comforts brides who get the dreaded knock on the door. 

Army wives Amanda Bradley (Madeline Carroll), Heather Turner (Sarah Drew) and Tonya Lewis (Tia Mowry-Hardrict) seek strength in each other during grim times.
Photo courtesy of © 2018 Provident Films and The WTA Group. All rights reserved.

Fighting each other, or fighting for each other?

"The heart of Indivisible is about marriage,” explains Drew, who also executive produced. "The military is the setting through which we tell a story about what it means to fight hard for the vows you make on that day you stand before God and before your community and say, 'I will love you for better or worse.'"

At Easter, Darren helps fellow soldiers appreciate that the biblical God who would sacrifice His Son can be trusted to have our backs. His assertion reminded me of the biblical affirmation, "If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won't He also give us everything else?"

An ambush, live combat and assorted conflicts make Darren question his own teaching and faith. He returns home callous and closed, angry and mean.  His marriage seems about to split.

Hope springs

My only military experience was a year of Naval ROTC, until my career plans changed, so I cannot personally speak to the stress of live combat. However, I've been divorced and widowed and know plenty about marital conflict, the pain of bereavement and confusion about God. Indivisible hits the right buttons to help folks who've experienced any kind of relationship conflict and/or loss to find hope. 

Indivisible film poster

In fact, providing hope is a major aim of the film. Drew notes, "I believe this film has the ability to bring healing to people's marriages, to people's family lives… It offers hope to people who are feeling like there is no hope. I think everyone who sees the film—men and women—is going to really be rooting for this family."

I was. I hope you will be, too.

Opens in theaters October 26, 2018 visit www.IndivisibleMovie.com Rated PG-13 (USA) "for some thematic material and war violence."

Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.RustyWright.com

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