Only the Brave is about heroism, the ability to change, and about risking everything for a greater cause. This movie is based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who saved many lives by risking their own on several occasions. This story is particularly poignant and will resonate with many viewers after the catastrophic and deadly wildfires across the West – especially in California – as this film was wrapping production in 2017.Bolstered by an all-star cast which features Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, and Jennifer Connelly, there are several mini stories within the framework of the picture, including young Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller), who goes from being a drug addict and getting his girlfriend pregnant, to becoming a firefighter and a caring father. The movie employs touching humor at times, as Brendan is called “Donut” as a nickname because he keeps getting zero answers right when he first gets started. But he soon earns the respect of his fellow firefighters. Another storyline features Eric March (Brolin), the supervisor of the Hotshots, and his wife Amanda (Connelly). She wants to be a mother although she and Eric agreed to no kids when they first got married. He doesn’t want to change but she tells him, “Knowing you changed my life. Life is about change.”
The action sequences include several scenes of the squad fighting fires and dealing with setbacks, such as when a helicopter drops a load of water on a backfire that was intentionally set to try to contain the spread of a serious wildfire. The squad from Prescott, Arizona, do themselves proud, especially when they take on a blazing fire in Yarnell, Arizona, about 30 miles from Prescott. The characters are brought to life in this movie—just ordinary guys…ribbing each other, making fun of one another, and yet caring deeply for each other as brothers. And they do extraordinary things.
One of the pluses of the movie is a young firefighter who reads his Bible and tells another man, “It’s good.” However, there is rear male nudity, the smoking of marijuana, and a lot of strong and harsh language in the film, including “GD”, “JC” and the “F” bomb on more than one occasion. We can’t give this one our Dove-Approved Seal, but we can say how proud we are of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. We won’t spoil the ending, but what they gave for others is truly amazing.