This inspiring true story begins with a native African, William, running from the horrors of the Rwanda genocide, where he and his family land in a refugee camp and spend years waiting to be restored to a life of normalcy. This man of faith is confronted in the first 10 minutes of the film with putting what he believes into action, and he looks to God for all his answers. The heart-pounding music fittingly accompanies the intense action of the opening scenes that portray violent life and death encounters. However, William gives the glory to God at every turn as lives are saved and lost, and doors are opened.
Likewise, Randy (Winters), an affluent white man who resides with his wife and teenage daughter in America, faces a different set of life-threatening circumstances, as the challenges of psychological and relational health are at stake in his family. He, too, is a church-going believer but puts more trust in his own abilities to provide for his family and rest on his laurels. His daughter Andrea (Hahn) suffers a tragic attack that turns her inward as she harbors her devastating secret, revealing her pain to her Rwandan pen pal only. Her family’s need is clearly met as believers in this film come together in unique and emotionally moving ways to support and nurture one another.
Further, Beautifully Broken takes on complex significance as William travels to America to build a new life and encounters Randy in his day-to-day circumstances. The two support one another in their journey to reunite their families, both literally and figuratively, and as they trust God and one another, miracles ensue. This movie made me laugh and cry throughout. I was in awe at the performances of every single actor, especially Onyago (William) and Hahn (Emily), who the story revolves around. The direction superbly captures the realism and inner tension each character conveys.
This tale is a beautifully woven tapestry of crossed lives that seem to be ordained to have a powerful impact on one another from thousands of miles apart. The miracles unfold through the portrayal of these subtle nuances as lives are changed forever by the love and acceptance of people who are submitted to a sovereign God they trust. As a result, redemption and restoration occur, facilitated by forgiveness and grace when William and Randy return to Rwanda seeking ultimate healing for both their families. This film is equally important for its portrayal of racial kinship at a time our world so desperately needs this message.
The Dove Take
Though there are several violent scenes not appropriate for young children, lessons of service and compassion abound, even when it appears one has nothing to give. The willingness to embrace those who seem vastly different from oneself, along with the choice to sacrifice for the sake of others, reaches a climax when William has the opportunity to extend the ultimate gift of forgiveness and grace to those who need it most. Surprisingly, the film reaches its brilliant climax when it is over, and suddenly the real Andrea Hartley appears on the screen to relay that she has devoted her life to missionary work in Rwanda and asks all viewers to consider sponsoring a child in the way her family did that changed all of their lives forever. There was not a dry eye in the theater.
Dove awards Beautifully Broken the Dove-Approved 18+ Seal.