I Did Not Mean to Go See Lone Survivor

by | Jan 19, 2014 | Catholic Mom Movie Review, January | 8 comments

I wanted to go see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, because Iris said it was good (and made such a pretty cake). BUT that was sold out, so we went to go see the husband’s first choice instead: Lone Survivor.

I expected it to be a well-done war movie, and it was. Intense and graphic, it pulls no punches, depicting accurately the physical and emotional horrors of battle. 

But what I wasn’t expecting was for it to really be a morality tale. It’s a war movie that is bookended by people making the right moral decision, and having to deal with the consequences of those decisions.

That’s not an angle I’ve seen in other movies of this genre. As we walked in to the movie theater I wondered, how could this movie possibly need to be made? There are hundreds if not thousands of war movies already in the can. How could there be anything that hasn’t yet been explored? But the fact that the action of the movie hinged on a decision to do the right thing made it feel like a new story. One worth telling, and worth seeing — if you can stomach the gore.

I had to use the same method I employ for watching The Walking Dead, which is, I just look away when things get too bloody. It works for me.

I enjoyed the subtle nod to the main character’s Catholic faith. He wears a large St. Michael medal around his neck that is featured prominently in a few scenes.

We didn’t remember it until the movie had already started, but the husband and I are friends with the widow of one of the Navy SEALs who lost his life that day. This movie is a fitting tribute to him and his brother SEALs. The violence is realistic, but I don’t think it was gratuitous. There was the type of language you’d expect to be used by these guys. But the movie really showed their courage and selflessness and extraordinary toughness.

It’s easy to forget that there are still sons and husbands and fathers out there putting themselves in harm’s way for us. I’m glad this movie is here to remind us of their sacrifice.


  1. Cristina

    I'm not sure if I could handle this movie. My husband just read 'SEAL of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of LT. Michael P. Murphy' (the story of that SEAL team's platoon commander who obviously didn't make it back) for a "professional military education" requirement and it was just awful to listen to him give me the play by play of everything that went on. It's just so hard to imagine that things like that can and do really happen.

  2. Iris Hanlin - Writer/Photographer

    Our priest (haha, "our priest") – I should say – "our Pastor" is heavily recommending this movie, so I've been trying to get out there to see it. He works a lot with the SEALs, and knew a few of the men in that group. God bless them. Thanks for the review!

    ~ Country Girl's Daybook
    recently posted: Rest in peace, Anna. http://bit.ly/1jbOPj0

  3. Rosemary

    Mark Wahlberg is actually a pretty serious Catholic, whichever have contributed to this.

  4. Hafsa

    Yes that is exactly how I handle the gratuitous gore as well: covering eyes or looking away. I'm actually curious about this film I had forgotten about it until this post. I heard Mark Wahlberg had a strong reversion back to the Church so I'm not surprised to hear about the nod to St. Christopher.

  5. Anonymous

    Glad to hear you liked it. I thought it looked like a good movie and I've come to trust your movie reviews. It's got Kendra's stamp of approval, I can see the movie and know there is some good moral grounding.

  6. Hannah

    Have you seen "Battle Los Angeles" ? Its an alien invasion type movie, but done realistically enough (like a fairy tale, mixing the mundane with the fantastic so it feels real) that it feels like a war movie (it centers around a group of marines trying to get some civilians out of a war zone before a carpet bombing)
    It's really really good. Again, it's really about moral choices, and all that.
    I think you would like it.

    • Hannah

      Battle Los Angeles 2011, not to be confused by some other movie of similar name….

  7. Kayla @ Number One Petersons

    I'm a big baby when it comes to suspenseful/bloody movies. It seems to have gotten worse the older I've gotten to. I can't even count how many movies I've started watching with my husband and have walked away from.

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