Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
natural disasters, forest fires
firefightings stress on wives and family members
making a difference for good in the world
For a Christian, what is an LOVE? Answer
bravery, courage, heroism
drug addiction / using and abusing illegal drugs
2nd chances in life
|Featuring:||Josh Brolin … Eric Marsh
Miles Teller … Brendan McDonough
Jeff Bridges … Duane Steinbrink
Jennifer Connelly … Amanda Marsh
James Badge Dale … Jesse Steed
Taylor Kitsch … Christopher MacKenzie
Andie MacDowell … Marvel Steinbrink
Geoff Stults … Travis Turbyfill
Alex Russell … Andrew Ashcraft
Thad Luckinbill … Scott Norris
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|Director:||Joseph Kosinski—“TRON: Legacy” (2010), “Oblivion” (2013)|
|Producer:||Lorenzo di Bonaventura
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|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures|
“It’s not what stands in front of you. It’s who stands beside you.”
The firefighters of Prescott, Arizona are a strong, remarkable team, dedicating their lives to protecting the homes and livelihoods of all who live in Prescott. However, Station 7’s more defined role is to monitor and assess any wildfires that come within range near Prescott or any neighboring towns.
The problem that many of the crew have expressed, however, is that they wish not to simply monitor the wildfires and have out-of-town crews (called “Hot Shots”) put them out. No sir! These men want to be on the front lines! They want to be where the action is! In fact, they’ve been preparing to become “Hot Shot” certified for the past 4 years. And so the mayor of Prescott, after much consideration, decides to give these guys the green light to get certified.
And sure enough, the crew achieves “Hot Shot” certification, renaming their organization the Granite Mountain Hotshots. As time progresses, so do the number of wildfires, and the Hot Shots become more and more famous around the area—in Prescott and across Arizona.
“Only the Brave” takes us on a journey through the lives of these remarkable, brave men and their acts of defying the odds, asking the ultimate question: What sacrifices are you willing to make for the ones you love?
I found “Only the Brave” to be one of the most powerful and uplifting dramas (for a secular film) that has come to theaters in years. With some terrific performances led by Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly and Taylor Kitsch, what makes “Only the Brave” effective in it’s story telling is not simply the stories of the Hot Shots’ wildfire adventures, but of their lives at home. Director Joseph Kosinki’s focus on character development (the firefighters and their families) is what makes “Only the Brave” amazing. Additionally, the pacing of the film is fairly strong (with only a couple moments where it dragged). The climactic final act will likely make you shed a tear or a two, as I did, even if you already know how the story ends.
One last thing I would like to commend is the film’s positive portrayal of local servicemen and servicewomen (by this I mean firefighters, police, military, etc.). Today, in a country where some of our local servicemen and servicewomen aren’t always viewed with the proper respect or honor they rightfully deserve, it is nice to see a film which properly and respectfully displays the courage, integrity and sacrifice these men and women make for us on a daily basis.
Sadly, the film does have definite negatives, and much of it is UNNECESARRY.
Language: The profanity, vulgarity and crudity count for this film is high—f**k (3-4), sh*t (44), etc. (see the long list below). Crude and vulgar comments are made. Sex, and male and female genitalia, are referred to, including slang terms like “banging,” “hooking up,” “c*cky s*cker,” “p*ssy,” “World-class piece of a**,” “d*ck,” “t*ts,” etc.). God’s names are used in vain 12 times (see list below).
Sexual Content/Nudity/Dialog: There is quite a bit of sexual dialog throughout the film, some of which would not be appropriate to discuss on a Christian Web site. One of the firefighters brags about some of his sexual conquests (he even shows a picture of a girl he’s dating—in lingerie—to another firefighter). A married couple is seen kissing passionately on a few occasions (but not having sex, but they do bathe together). The couple does have sex in a later scene.
Violence: Firefighters are killed in a huge rushing blaze, and the audience is shown remains of the bodies and equipment after discovery by rescue workers. One person is bitten by a rattlesnake, and the wounds are shown. An abused horse is seen with some severe injuries. A supervisor takes a chair and smashes it against his office desk. A character experiences a car accident.
Drugs: Before he joins the team, one of the firefighters is seen doing drugs at his mom’s house with a bong. When he joins the firefighters, he does not hide the truth about his addiction. He reveals his drug history and when he last used, and he quits doing drugs and won’t even accept pain killers when in great pain, for fear of becoming addicted again.
The main theme of “Only the Brave” is self-sacrifice and heroism, and I think most viewers will be inspired. This film provides a prime example of men laying down their lives for others—willingness to sacrifice everything they love: their homes, their families, their livelihoods in the process. Sacrifice is never easy. For these men, every time they stepped out the door, they knew there was a chance they might not come home. They took the risk, nonetheless.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” —John 3:16
And because these firefighters acted in love, sacrificing themselves willingly, I am also reminded of this Scripture:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. —John 15:12-13
As I said, “Only the Brave” is a moving tribute, not only to the fallen firemen of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, but to all who have served their local, state and national law enforcement communities. I was very moved and consider it great cinema. Were it not for the abundance of sexual dialog and heavy amount of profanity and vulgar language, I could have recommended it to Christian audiences.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.