Jesse Brown’s story to becoming the first Black aviator in Navy history was first told in a book by Adam Makos before being optioned as a film. Propelled by the current success of Top Gun: Maverick, “Devotion” is a historical period piece that features exciting displays of arial combat. At the same time, a friendship between Brown and Tom Hudner becomes legendary, with Hudner placing himself in harm’s way to rescue and defend Brown.
Brown is a family man, trying his best to stay focused on his career and not make any waves, even while encountering prejudice and aggression. He takes the opportunity to turn the other cheek, not out of weakness but as a way of staying above the fray and not jeopardizing his future.
“I can’t tell you how many times people have told me to give up, quit, die even,” he admits to Hudner. “That’s why you can’t always do what you’re told. If I did. I wouldn’t be here.” Although Brown confides in Hudner, he stands strong in front of others. This becomes noticeable and they begin to admire his determination.
In one memorable scene, actress Elizabeth Taylor encounters Brown while he’s strolling on a beach. She ignores the others and places special attention on him, which in turn elevates his status to his fellow servicemen. She invites him to bring friends to a party later that night, which provokes jealousy but is also a kind gesture to a good man seeking to earn the respect of his company. This is a great example of someone using their position to lift someone else up and a testament to the character of the famous actress.
Although faith does not play a huge part in the story, the self-sacrificial friendship is notable and could inspire viewers to consider how they can reach someone who needs a hand. The bond of friendship continued through the years and, in the film’s credits, viewers learn their descendants are still friends in present day.
As one would expect in a military-themed movie, there is profanity present and some talk of seeking out women while on leave, but there’s no explicit sexual discussion and the language stays in the PG-13 territory.
The Dove Take:
“Devotion” is a high-flying historical piece that features impressive cinematography and ariel stunts but is most memorable for its focus on friendship and perseverance. With various character arcs featured, viewers will find a nugget of inspiration to glean to help those in their lives who might need it.