PTSD is explored in the new war movie that really focuses on the aftermath of the situations the soldiers are placed in. Based on a true story, this film has some powerful moments when looking at the lives of these three soldiers returning from Iraq.
Unfortunately, the film only does an okay job of making connections with the audience with those characters.
Adam Schumann (Miles Teller), Solo (Beulah Koale) and Billy Waller (Joe Cole) are returning from Iraq after a tragic event cost the life of their SFC James Doster (Brad Beyer). Dealing with guilt, the memories of what had happened and serious cases of PTSD, the three friends struggle to adapt to life back in the US and to try and find help for their conditions.
The strongest aspect of this film is the deplorable manner that these men are treated by our government and the health care community. These veterans had to desperately seek help from anyone able to give it, only to find more red tape and lack of empathy. Even those who are empathetic to the soldiers’ cases are limited by time and what they can actually do.
Coupled that with the terrible stresses connected to PTSD, the film shows a dramatic image of three damaged soldiers, even heroes, who can’t seem to get proper care or help despite their terms of service to our country. This should really be a national shame to the United States that something like this is allowed to go on.
However, as a movie, Thank You For Your Service has some flaws. I could have used some more connections shown me to build the relationship between these three men. There are some scenes, but not enough to really draw me into their stories. Several of the scenes are spoken about instead being shown to us and that just is never a solid way to run a movie.
Second, some of the soldiers’ relationships outside of their unit were weaker and that did not make me connect emotionally when some of them started to fall apart. I did like the relationship between Miles Teller and Haley Bennett though, as that relationship truly felt real and loving. The other two relationships did not receive any screen time at all and it did not draw me in like Teller and Bennett’s relationship does.
Amy Schumer is in this movie as well in a rare dramatic role. She is not on screen for long, but she was decent. I spent most of the time trying to convince myself that it was her hidden under the dark hair that she now had.
I think I would rather had more outrage against the system that the film seems to start with, but discarded for nonsensical plots such as a drug/arms dealer story. While there are good moments, the film does feel a tad too forgettable and not the powerful social message that it could have been.