"Selfless Devotion to Duty"
What You Need To Know:
The movie is well made. The acting is good. The action is occasionally riveting. The foul language is mild for a modern movie dealing with a branch of the armed services. The filmmakers are to be commended for a patriotic presentation of Coast Guard swimmers whose motto is “So Others May Live.” But, it’s like a loaf of bread that doesn’t rise. Without God’s love as the motivating yeast, the movie’s selfless devotion to duty looks one dimensional and flat. Also, the intensity of the rescue footage makes this movie suitable only for teenagers and adults.
(BB, Ro, PPP, L, VV, S, A, D, M) Strong moral worldview stresses selfless devotion to duty in order to help others in need, with some Romantic elements and very strong patriotic, pro-American content, but no references to God; five or six obscenities, including one emphatic use of the “f” word, and two profanities; strong action violence includes barroom violence between branches of the armed services and intense scenes of rescue training and water rescues (with some blood); unmarried couple twice shown in bed, implied fornication; shoulders exposed but no graphic nudity; alcohol use on more than one occasion; smoking; and, gambling and wife leaves husband.
THE GUARDIAN is the story of a celebrated Coast Guard rescue swimmer who is forced to teach a class of swimmer recruits. Kevin Costner stars as Ben Randall, a swimmer who regularly risks his life and his marriage to save others. The movie is strongly patriotic, portraying Coast Guard members as devoted to saving every life they can, but it fails to deal with the Author of selflessness.
The movie opens by establishing that Randall is terrific at saving lives but is unable to save his marriage. His wife (played by Sela Ward) leaves him because he has no time for her. Even as he pleads for another chance, he is called back for another rescue. This time things go horribly wrong, and he is left the sole survivor of his rescue crew, complete with emotional and physical injuries. He is taken off active rescue duty and assigned to become an instructor at the Coast Guard’s elite “A” school for rescue swimmers.
There, Randall is challenged by a cocky young recruit Jake Cummings (played by Ashton Kutcher) who is determined to break his records. Randall uses unorthodox methods to weed out and prepare his recruits for the real world of rescue work. Randall proceeds to mold Jake into a man who can focus more on saving lives than on setting records.
Sadly, the central story is embellished with Randall’s dysfunctional marriage leading him to drink (apparently a requirement for getting Costner into a movie) and with his prime student’s foray into alcohol, fornication and fighting. Apparently, one cannot be a good husband and a rescue swimmer.
The movie is well made. The acting is good. The action is occasionally riveting. The language is mild for a modern movie dealing with a branch of the armed services. The filmmakers are to be commended for a patriotic presentation of Coast Guard swimmers whose motto is “So Others May Live.” But, it’s like a loaf of bread that doesn’t rise. Without God’s love as the motivating yeast, the unselfishness portrayed looks one dimensional, flat as a cracker. The main characters are supposedly motivated by emotional experiences in their past and only motivated as swimmers. The same men devoted to saving lives can bash in the face of members of another branch of the armed services.
The intensity of the rescue footage makes this movie is unsuitable for young children. Teenagers and adults may enjoy the patriotic aspects of the movie but the media-wise family will take time to discuss how, by relying on God’s unselfish love, members of the Coast Guard could save lives, have sound marriages and live without relying on alcohol.