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The real Louis Zamperini.

‘Little Women’ joins ‘Unbroken’ in top family films for September

The storylines of Unbroken and Little Women share more than just good family entertainment. They’re both a look into the times when war affected not only soldiers but the families left at home. Both during and after the conflicts.

This is the 150th anniversary of the book Little Women and the themes still resonate across culture.

The 2014 film Unbroken chronicled an unlikely war hero. It opened at the box office in the top three, ended its run with a gross of more than $110 million, and inspired countless moviegoers with its story of American Louis Zamperini, who was tortured in a World War II Japanese prison camp but had the courage and determination to make it home.

The movie, though, ended before the Christian side of the story began, even if it did give a glimpse. An upcoming film will tell that next chapter.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption, which will release in theaters Sept. 14, picks up where Unbroken left off, showing a revenge-filled Zamperini falling apart and drowning his sorrows in alcohol until a visit to the 1949 Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles changed his life. Zamperini became a Christian at that crusade and then did the unthinkable, traveling back to Japan to forgive his captors. He eventually became an evangelist and founded a camp for at-risk boys.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption fills the No. 1 position on this month’s edition of “5 Family-Friendly Things.”

The movie shows a single Zamperini falling in love and getting married but also battling PTSD and thoughts about the war. With their marriage steering toward a separation and possible divorce, his wife invited him to the crusade.

warMatthew Baer, who produced both movies, said Zamperini’s life story was too complex to be told in one movie. Indeed, the 2014 movie spanned more than two hours.

“It was always my wish that we could tell the entire story, and that wasn’t possible in the first film for a variety of reasons,” Baer told Metro Voice. “And so in the case of Unbroken: Path to Redemption, it allows for Louis’ tremendous postwar journey to be told in a fully rendered way — be that in his marriage, his struggle with PTSD, his battle with alcoholism and ultimately his finding his faith.”

Universal 1440 Entertainment partnered with faith-based companies PureFlix and The WTA Group on the movie, which stars Samuel Hunt (Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D.) as Zamperini and Merritt Patterson (The Royals) as his wife, Cynthia. Billy’s Graham’s grandson, Will Graham, plays the famous evangelist.

The movie is rated PG-13 for thematic content and related disturbing images, although it doesn’t contain any language or sexuality. Yet with themes involving alcoholism and possible divorce in the movie, parents may want to think twice about taking small children.

Also worth watching this month:

  1. The Wild Brothers’ new videos. YouTube is filled with trivial and even trashy videos, but there is plenty of content worth watching, too. Such is the case with the channel by the Wild Brothers – four missionary kids who live on an island in the Pacific and who regularly post videos about nature, animals and faith. They recently posted several new videos. Learn more at WildBrothers.com or on their YouTube channel.
  2. Dry Bar Comedy. Laughter is a gift from God. Unfortunately, most of the comedy in movies and on television is too filthy and juvenile to watch as a family (or as a couple, too). Not so with VidAngel Studio’s Dry Bar Comedy, which has amassed 40 million YouTube views unbrokensince its launch in February 2017 and features some of the nation’s cleanest comedians – once again proving that the funniest and most original comedy is the cleanest comedy. New content is added weekly. Visit Dry Bar Comedy’s YouTube channel or DryBarComedy.com.
  3. ‘Little Women.’ Set to hit theaters Sept. 28, this modern rendition of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel tells the story of four sisters – Amy, Beth, Jo and Meg – who are coming of age. It’s being released during the 150th anniversary of Alcott’s book and has the endorsement of the Parents Television Council, which calls it a “wholesome portrayal of women that is so rare in today’s media.” It’s rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and teen drinking.
  4. ‘Brothers of the Wind.’ Now on DVD and streaming video, this film follows a boy named Lukas who lives with his father in the mountains and raises an injured eagle chick. Unrated, the movie features the best wildlife cinematography I’ve ever seen on the big screen. It contains no sexuality or violence and only one coarse word. (d—n).


By Michael Foust |Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and entertainment for more than a decade and is a Metro Voice contributing editor.