One in 5 men and women in uniform come back home with some kind of brain injury. Often times their injuries are not visible — they are mental. These men and women defend their country but are also protecting their friends, family and people whom they have never met.
The movie adaption of “Thank You for Your Service” by American journalist David Finkel focuses on real-life veterans who returned to Fort Riley, Kansas, following a 15-month deployment to Iraq in 2007-08. They return home and try to adjust to civilian life while dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries. The novel and film also tackle the struggles of the veterans’ benefit crisis with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It is a strong cast with Miles Teller, who plays Sgt. Adam Schumann, and Haley Bennet playing his wife, Saskia. Those two did a fantastic job together and did justice to the actual story. The one person I did not expect to be in this film is Amy Schumer, who plays Saskia’s best friend and the wife of Sgt. 1st Class James Doster. While she was an unexpected cast member in a serious role, she did a good job balancing the seriousness and having some light humor.
The cinematography is fantastic in this film. The change in lighting helps better understand the mood of what the characters are feeling but also helps the audience feel what they are going through. The action sequences were well thought out to show the audience what exactly these characters are hearing and seeing.
I always try to read a novel before I see the movie; however, I never knew there was a novel to begin with. Since this a real-life story novel adaptation, I had doubts on how accurate the movie will be. After watching the interviews with the cast, director and writer Jason Hall along with Sgt. Schumann, it is clear they did follow his story but also the story of many other veterans who can relate.
“It’s not just my story. There’s hundreds of thousands of veterans that face similar stuff that’s portrayed in this movie,” Schumann said.
To prepare for the movie, the majority of the cast did some vigorous training so they better understand what the people they are portraying went through. Scott Haze, who plays Michael Emory, confined himself to a wheelchair for a month to prepare for his role.
A few of the actors were afraid to jump on board for this project because they felt they wouldn’t be able to accurately portray the truth of what these veterans feel and deal with when they come back. However, Teller knew their story must be told.
“What they go through in that, when they get back from war, it’s not like they take some pills and then they’re OK. We’re dealing with young men and women who are experiencing things that are just unimaginable. … They’re coming back a different person,” Teller said.
Veteran or not, everyone should go watch this film. This story is unique because it is not just one man’s story, it is multiple that any veteran can relate to but any audience member can try to understand what these men and women go through when they come home.
This sheds light on the invisible injuries veterans suffer when they come home.
contributed photo: DreamWork pictures