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Indivisible


  • Justin Bruening stars as U.S. Army Chaplain Darren Turner in a scene from the movie "Indivisible." The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/courtesy Provident Films)
  • Army Chaplain Darren Turner poses in an undated photo with his wife, Heather, and their three children, Meribeth, Samuel and Ellie, after an awards ceremony for the film "Indivisible." The film recounts Darren's experiences as an Army chaplain during the Iraq War, how the pressures of that ministry led to the unraveling of his marriage and ultimately how that relationship was healed. (CNS photo/courtesy Provident Films LLC and The WTA Group, LLC)

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it." So Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is supposed to have remarked while witnessing the magnificent panoply of massing troops at the onset of the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862.

The earnest, fact-based drama "Indivisible" (Pure Flix) concentrates on the negative side of Lee's observation, showing the toll a much more recent conflict exacted on the life of Protestant Army chaplain Darren Turner (Justin Bruening).

While still new to his role in the armed forces, and without previous combat experience, Darren is assigned to care for a unit deployed on the dangerous outskirts of Baghdad as part of the 2007 surge of U.S. troops in Iraq. He goes off willingly enough, despite the somber warnings of Michael Lewis (Jason George), a soldier who has been in country before.

At first, Darren scores some successes. He helps to make the initially hardened Michael a better husband, aids another comrade, gifted sharpshooter Shonda Peterson (Skye P. Marshall), in her effort to become a more active mom and guides outspoken religious skeptic Lance Bradley (Tanner Stine) toward belief.

Back home, meanwhile, Darren's dedicated wife, Heather (Sarah Drew), busies herself filing Christmas stockings for his charges and giving comfort to the wives of the wounded and fallen. ("Indivisible" represents something of a reunion for Bruening and Drew, both of whom appeared on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy.")

But Darren's experiences of battle and loss eventually leave him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and increasingly alienated from his family. He also undergoes a crisis of faith.

Though perhaps more admirable than engaging, director and co-writer David G. Evans' movie effectively conveys the experience of many servicemen and women during and after their time in Iraq or Afghanistan. It also presents the portrait of a strong and durable marriage while sincerely exploring issues of doubt among the faithful.

Besides scenes of fighting integral to the story, moreover, the script -- on which Evans collaborated with Cheryl McKay and Peter White -- includes little to which parents could object. In fact, teens might benefit from "Indivisible," especially if it inspires a family discussion about the Christian emphasis on peace and the criteria by which a resort to force can nevertheless sometimes be justified.

The film contains stylized combat violence with minimal gore, mature themes and references to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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CAPSULE REVIEW
"Indivisible" (Pure Mulderig)
Earnest fact-based drama, set in 2007, in which an inexperienced Protestant Army chaplain (Justin Flix) finds his pastoral skills, the stability of his marriage (to Sarah Drew) and even his faith tested when he's assigned to care for a unit deployed on the dangerous outskirts of Baghdad. He helps to make one comrade (Jason George) a better husband, another (Skye P. Marshall) a more active mom and guides a third (Tanner Stine) from skepticism to belief. But his experiences of battle and loss leave him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and increasingly alienated from his family. Though perhaps more admirable than engaging, director and co-writer David G. Evans' film effectively conveys the experience of many servicemen and women during and after their time in Iraq or Afghanistan while also presenting the portrait of a strong and durable marriage and sincerely exploring issues of doubt among the faithful. Besides scenes of fighting integral to the story, the script includes little to which parents could object. Stylized combat violence with minimal gore, mature themes, references to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
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CLASSIFICATION
"Indivisible" (Pure Stine) -- Catholic News Service classification, A-II -- adults and adolescents. Motion Picture Association of America rating, PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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