‘Indivisible’ film accurately portrays real Christian struggles

Shonda Peterson (Skye P. Marshall) and chaplain Darren Turner (Justin Bruening) in "Indivisible." Photo: © 2018 Provident Films LLC and The WTA Group, LLC

The movie Indivisible, based on a true story, explores the life of Army chaplain Darren Turner, his wife Heather, and their children. This is also a movie about the men and women who go to war and are damaged by the experience.

The Turner family, Heather (Sarah Drew), Meribeth (Abigail Hummel), Samuel (Lucas Boyle), Darren (Justin Bruening) and, Ellie (Samra Lee) after an awards ceremony in “Indivisible.” Photo courtesy of © 2018 Provident Films LLC and The WTA Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Darren, played by Justin Bruening, enters the Army thinking he has it all figured out. He’s not obnoxious about it but he’s quietly confident that he can make a difference in the lives of those he will serve. As a newly minted chaplain he is immediately sent to Iraq. One can question why it was necessary for a new chaplain fresh out of training to go right into battle. However, having friends and family who have served in the military, I have learned to expect strange and sometimes counterintuitive decisions.

Darren shares his ministry with his wife Heather (played by Sarah Drew, whom some will remember from the ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy where she played long-time character Dr. April Kepner). Heather gets very involved in all of the stateside activities at the base at which they are stationed. She also gets involved helping the widows of the fallen and the families of the injured. From a Catholic point of view we’d say she’s doing the corporal works of mercy.

Darren, meanwhile, has the experience of being in a firefight in which a solider whom he was fond of, someone he thought was understanding the message of God’s love, has something bad happen to him.

This is absolutely the pivotal point in Darren and Heather’s lives and it places them on a journey they never thought they’d be on because they believed their marriage was solid as a rock but they learned that sometimes that bedrock can be shaken.

When Darren returns home after his tour, he is a different man, a broken man. He continues with his military service and tries to live a “normal” life. However, Darren has post-traumatic stress disorder and has no idea how to handle it. This begins another battle for the couple — the battle to save their crumbling marriage.

The Turners’ struggle is real and it is multiplied throughout the ranks of our military. Fortunately for them they do have a strong faith in Jesus Christ and it is this faith in Jesus that makes this a movie worth our time as Christians.

It would be easy for us to dismiss this film as the typical fare of the current genre of so-called “Christian films,” movies such as Fireproof and Heaven Is for Real or even The Shack. But what I find different about this one is that it feels real to life and it draws one into the fight.

Those other films aren’t bad, but this movie has a sense of the real-life struggles that Christian families go through, especially this family and their military ministry. Darren’s crisis of faith is realistic, his struggles could be ours, and so these are characters that are relatable and that always makes for a better story and a better film. I recommend seeing this movie. You won’t be disappointed.

Fr. Chip’s grade: B+

Rated: PG–13

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