When I first saw the trailer for The Messenger movie, I was a little concerned that it was going to be a typical anti-war movie that paints our soldiers in a negative light. There are quite a number of such movies out there and I believe they are responsible for some of the negative perception of our military. After seeing this film and having a chance to speak to the director, Oren Moverman and one of the leads, Ben Foster I realized there is nothing typical about The Messenger. For the first time, a movie explores the bearing of bad news to families of fallen soldiers in a way so real that reminds us how much the men and women in the armed services and their families are sacrificing for our nation.
The soldiers are portrayed in a light where we see their vulnerability, but we are given reminders throughout the movie how truly heroic they are. It is evident that it takes a very special person to serve our country and be a part of the Armed Services family. The comfort level and bond that is developed with the characters is unbelievable; both Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster brilliantly showcase the love soldiers have for one another and their communities while remaining authentic and reveling their fragility with compassion and dignity. There are so many powerful and heart wrenching scenes in the movie, as well as many laugh out loud moments that perfectly balanced each other out. Some of the best one-liners actually came from LTC Paul Siner, who was the military advisor on set. The amount of research done for the movie was impressive and the military community will surely embrace this movie. The biggest reminder The Messenger leaves us with is that getting through hard situations sometimes feels impossible, but the bonds and relationships we develop with those around us allow us to get through the most difficult of times.
In a reference to a previous movie Oren did that focuses on Bob Dylan, he made a comment that the American public seems to know a lot more about celebrities than the men and women serving our country. The Messenger is one great example of the media showcasing our soldiers and helping bridge that gap between the civilian and military communities. Although the military community may not be that large, they sacrifice a great amount for our freedoms and it is necessary to bring that to the American public. A tribute to the brave men and women in the service, this movie is sure to make you walk away with appreciation of our troops and a new perspective on grief, friendships and survival. The movie opens nation wide on November 20th.