I had the privilege of seeing an advance screening of Unbroken last week, the movie that will be released nationwide on Christmas Day, based on Laura Hillenbrand’s great book.

I might also add that our Church hosted Louie Zamperini, the subject of the book and movie, about two years ago. Lib and I were privileged not only to hear him, but to have lunch with him and a small group of others. Louie was a wonderful man, a delight to be around even at 96 years old, and his story is a marvelous inspiration.

The movie is, hands down, a great movie! I advise everyone planning to see it to go on a fluids fast for several hours in advance, because you do not want to make a bathroom break once it starts.

It’s gripping, it’s horrifying in the authentic demonstrations of the abuse Louie endured, it is inspiring in the relationships between Louie and other prisoners, and especially with his flight partner Phil.

For those in the Christian community, the highlight of the book is the amazing conversion experience that Louie had at a Billy Graham Crusade. Spoiler alert here, the movie does not cover that—not the way many would have preferred.

I will say that the movie has a profound prayer scene at the beginning, with Louie’s Mom. Another in wartime after a particularly harrowing landing on the base. And there is Louie’s promise to God in the life raft, that he will devote his life to God if the Lord will let him survive.

The movie ends—while trying not to give too much away—with the acknowledgement that Louie’s life changed dramatically after years of PTSD, and that Louie kept his promise to God. It reveals his reconciliation with his captors (with the sole exception of the Bird), and celebrates his running in Tokyo as a part of the Olympic relay.

In short, the movie deals with Louie’s war experiences, and his indomitable, unbroken spirit. To fully understand his life—particularly the years he tried to mask his anger and pain with alcohol, and kept his brokenness inside until God allowed him to release it, and be made Unbroken by His grace, you need to read the book.

But do go see the movie. It’s wonderful!