DEVOTION (2022) – My rating: 8.5/10

Devotion (2022 film).jpgDevotion is a biographical war film based on the 2015 book Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos, which retells the comradeship between naval officers Jesse Brown and Tom Hudner during the Korean War. It is directed by J. D. Dillard and written by Jake Crane and Jonathan Stewart. Another historic movie based on a true story that depicts one of many important roles African American’s played in developing the United States of America. Despite needing a box of tissues, I thought Devotion was well done.

In early 1950, Lieutenant Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) transfers to Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32) at Quonset Point Naval Air Station. There he meets Ensign Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors), the only African American member of the unit. Hudner integrates well into the squadron, which is assigned F4U-4 Corsairs – powerful planes with a reputation for fatal accidents if not handled properly. After Brown’s car breaks down, Hudner starts giving him rides to and from the base. He eventually meets Jesse’s wife Daisy (Christina Jackson) and their young daughter Pam. The Browns are doing well, but struggle with racist neighbors, and Brown, when alone, has resorted to shouting racist abuses at himself in the mirror to motivate himself before missions.

VF-32 passes carrier tests with the Corsair and transfers to the USS Leyte, which is deployed to the Mediterranean Sea to deter Soviet aggression. Before they leave, Daisy has Hudner promise that he will be there for Jesse in the event there is trouble. On the voyage, squadron member Mohring is killed in a crash while attempting to land a Corsair. Hudner questions why Mohring didn’t follow instructions, but Brown explains that one cannot always follow directions – if Brown had solely done what he was told, he would have been stopped early in his career by the many racist superior officers who wanted him to fail. Due to one of the lowest-grossing Thanksgiving weekends in box-office history, as of November 23, 2022, the film only grossed $16.1 million worldwide. 

Devotion is based on a sole Black Aviator who earned the title of one of the best pilots in the Navy.  I suspect if Jesse were not a Black man his story may not have been documented and made into a movie.  I liked Devotion because it honestly showed that Blacks are human beings just like everybody else, capable of great things just like everybody else.  I often wonder why there is so much hate for people who are of color.  Devotion shows why and how Jesse Brown became famous and why he continues to be celebrated after more than 70+ years. There are many solemn moments that will surely cause the tears to flow, so bring some tissues if you intend to see the movie. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 81% of 94 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The website’s critic’s consensus reads, “Honoring real-life history while delivering impactful drama, Devotion is a straightforward biopic elevated by standout performances from a talented cast.” Devotion is a very insightful movie — Check It Out!


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