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Oscar®Oscar® Nominee for Best Original Screenplay and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Woody Harrelson)
Movie Review

The Messenger also known as “O Mensageiro,” “Oltre le regole—The Messenger”

MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content/nudity.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
War Romance Drama
Length:
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
2009
USA Release:
November 13, 2009
DVD: May 18, 2010
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Oscilloscope Pictures

IRAQ—What is the significance of Iraq in the Bible? Answer

War in the Bible

What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer

Pain and suffering

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Death in the Bible

Anger

Funerals

Wife

Widows

Depression

DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer


Drunkenness in the Bible

Contemplated suicide

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

Hope

Hope in the Bible

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on-line, full-length motion picture.
Sexuality

NUDITY—Why are humans supposed to wear clothes? Answer

Fornication in the Bible

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Sex, Love & Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Ben Foster (Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery), Jena Malone (Kelly), Eamonn Walker (Colonel Stuart Dorsett), Woody Harrelson (Captain Tony Stone), Yaya DaCosta (Monica Washington), Portia (Mrs. Burrell), Lisa Joyce (Emily), Steve Buscemi (Dale Martin), Peter Francis James (Dr. Grosso), Samantha Morton (Olivia Pitterson), Paul Diomede (Motorcycle Cop), Jahmir Duran-Abreau (Matt Pitterson), Gaius Charles (Recruiter Brown), Brendan Sexton III (Recruiter Olson), more »
Director: Oren Moverman
Producer: Oscilloscope Laboratories, Omnilab Media (as Omnilab Media Group), Sherazade Film Development (as Sherazade Film Development Co. Ltd.), BZ Entertainment, The Mark Gordon Company, Good Worldwide, All the Kings Horses, Reason Pictures, Steffen Aumüller, Gwen Bialic, Nathaniel Bolotin, Claus Clausen, Benjamin Goldhirsh, Mark Gordon, Lawrence Inglee, Christopher Mapp, Zach Miller, Shaun Redick, Glenn M. Stewart, Matthew Street, David Whealy, Bryan Zuriff
Distributor: Oscilloscope Pictures

Being a soldier during wartime is tough. I can only imagine how tough it must be then to be a soldier whose job it is to go around to other soldiers’ families to tell them of their loss. Such is the subject matter for “The Messenger,” a sad, but deeply moving, picture that details the mindset of soldiers carrying the weight of delivering such terrible news to loved ones.

Sgt. Will Montgomery (Ben Foster—“3:10 to Yuma”) is a soldier who only has a couple months left on his tour of duty. Unfortunately, Montgomery is injured in battle and assigned to the Casualty Notification team to finish out his tour. Home from the war, but not out of duty, Montgomery is dealing with the love of his life marrying someone else, as well as serious PTSD. He has no desire to live, much less be on the Casualty Notification team.

Montgomery’s boss and partner Capt. Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) is also a troubled soldier, but has taken to his job. He is by the book, and manages to do the job successfully by not getting emotionally involved with any families to which he delivers the bad news.

As Montgomery becomes more accustomed to his new role, he and Stone become close, but also have very different ways of notification. Montgomery makes a connection with those he must notify, and sometimes he is met with anger. Montgomery befriends a widow of a fallen soldier and has to deal with the ethical dilemma of his feelings for her and the appropriate way to display them.

“The Messenger” is a tough movie to watch. Tougher than seeing soldiers die through brutal violence is watching the reaction of their loved ones, knowing they can do nothing about it. It’s a painstaking job and one that takes its toll on the viewer, as well as the two main characters. It also has a strong message about the connections people have and the ones they make. It shows how much people need help, support, and encouragement.

What stands out from a filmmaking standpoint are the performances, particularly that of Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster. These two are perfect for their roles and bring the most to every scene. The film has an understated feel that lets whatever is happening on screen speak for itself.

“The Messenger” is about as realistic a movie as you’ll find, and because of that the depiction of two soldiers struggling with their own personal demons leaves the viewer with several content issues. The language and sexual dialogue is explicit, and there are a couple of scenes with gratuitous sexual content. Director Oren Moverman does not shy away from any aspect of these soldiers’ lives, even when it may have been the better choice to do so.

“The Messenger” will probably leave you sad and pensive, but it’s ultimately a film about love and hope. It’s a dark, tough road that ultimately showcases the change in the lives of two men. While clearly a movie only for discerning adults, it’s a movie that will make you think.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line! Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on-line, full-length motion picture.

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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