I must say I am a little befuddled by some of the critics who have downplayed Thank You for Your Service. Some of the criticism seems to suggest that the film does not go far enough in its depiction of brave soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. My question is how could it? Most of us have never served and know nothing about what these brave souls did and saw in the war zone? There is no way for a film to relay what these brave soldiers have gone through unless we have been through it, too when it relates to PTSD. To suggest a film is lacking something because of that, is pretty short-sighted. As film-goers, we rely on a film to give us a glimpse of what someone else might be feeling, Thank You for Your Service does more than that and it is a truly remarkable film.
Thank You for Your Service was written and directed by first time writer and director Jason Hall, based on David Finkel’s book of the same title. It stars Miles Teller as Adam and as the film opens he and his two best friends are on their way home from the Middle East, after fulfilling their deployment requirements. Billy (Joe Cole) and Solo (Beulah Koale) are Adam’s friends and all three are excited to be coming home. They don’t know what awaits them, but they are glad to be back home. For Adam, it is to be with his wife, Saskia (Haley Bennett)and their children. Solo has his girlfriend and Billy has his wife. When they arrive home though, they start to realize that they are not doing as well as they thought. Thoughts of suicide, violent rage and flashbacks to days of battles and friends lost are invading these men’s minds. After trips to the VA, it becomes apparent that these men need more than just a passing interest in a VA counselor.
Adam seems to be the strongest of the three, but after a while, he realizes he is in as bad a shape as Solo and Billy. Without revealing plot points, I will stop there. This is a film people need to see for themselves. Thank You for Your Service is as powerful and emotionally draining as any film I have ever seen and I mean that in the most positive way. Miles Teller is simply terrific as Adam. No matter how he tries to hide his pain, it always seems to bubble to the surface and Haley Bennett as his wife is equally sympathetic. Teller and Bennett have great chemistry onscreen so when things start to go bad, we feel it. I loved the way Saskia sticks with Adam no matter what and the script shows that they have a wonderful and loving relationship. Teller and Bennett have provided some of their best work to date for this film.
Beulah Koale and Joe Cole are equally likable as Adam’s friends. Solo (Beulah Koale) has his girlfriend, Alea (Keisha Castle-Hughes) who is expecting their first child and Billy (Joe Cole) is the most tragic character of the film. The acting in this film is spectacular. You will feel everything these characters feel as it relates to the story but like I said unless we have been there as soldiers, there is only so much a film can do. Any more than that over sentimentalizes and trivializes these brave souls and their sacrifices. That is something Thank You for Your Service does not do. This film is an emotional powerhouse.
Jason Hall has created a film that truly appreciates what our brave men and women of the military do. It is more than just simply saying, “Thank you for service.” This film truly wants to help those who are suffering. I also enjoyed the fact that there are very few battle scenes, so the film relies on its script to tell its story, the direction and acting, all of which are Oscar worthy. Sadly though, I think the Academy will dismiss this film the way many critics have which is a shame. Thomas Newman provides another tremendous score for Thank You for Your Service and it does not overwhelm the story with pseudo-emotion. It is as heartfelt as the film itself. Writer and director Jason Hall deserves tons of credit for not trivializing these characters or their own personal battles. He keeps everything real and heartfelt. He knows how far to push the story to get the message across and he knows when to stop.
Thank You for Your Service is a heartbreaking film. I cared about these characters (all of whom are real people, too as you will see at the end of the film) and what happened to them. Their stories need to be told and whether you approve of the United States being in the Middle East or not, we must back our soldiers up over there AND when they return, broken and without hope of normalcy. It will be hard for you not to shed a tear when you see what these characters go through. This is an exceptional film from start to finish. For those out there who have served and returned home to us, we thank you. Not just for your service but for the sacrifices you and your families have made to ensure our way of life in America and to protect us from those who mean us harm. For those who have given their lives, hopefully, one day we can somehow repay you for your ultimate sacrifice. From my family to yours, we owe you all a debt we can never repay.
Thank You for Your Service – ***** out of 5
Thank You for Your Service – Rated R for language and some graphic violence, brief nudity
Thank You for Your Service – Run Time is 108 minutes
Thank You for Your Service is now playing in theaters. Please check your local listings for times and locations nearest you.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE RETURNED HOME FROM FIGHTING ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD, THE PATHWAY HOME INC. (AS SHOWN IN THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE) IS THERE FOR YOU. HERE IS THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION:
The Pathway Home, Inc.
P.O. Box 3930
Yountville, CA 94599
The Pathway Home, Inc.
100 California Drive
Madison Building, 2nd Floor
Yountville, CA 94599
Primary Telephone Number: (707) 948-3031
Primary Fax Number: (707) 948-3029
For all general inquiries, please use the program phone number provided above or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For inquiries specifically related to fundraising or donations please contact:
Liz Russell, Manager of Administration and Development
Phone: (707) 948-3028