Columbia Pictures new release, Devotion tells the inspiring true-story of Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in the history of the US Navy and the men who felt his impact most directly. One of the focal points of this story is the friendship he developed with fellow pilot, Tom Hudner. The Devotion movie is based on the bestselling book of the same name, by Adam Makos.
Jonathan Majors breathes life into Jesse Brown, telling a story that has long deserved a brighter light shone on it. Glen Powell stars as Tom Hudner. Even with the bonafide star power in the leads, Christina Jackson in her breakthrough big screen role steals the show on more than one occasion in the film. The story is told through the lens of filmmaker JD Dillard whose father was the second African American member of the Blue Angels, the US Navy’s elite ambassador squadron of pilots. The opportunity to tell the story of Jesse Brown seems like kismet considering just how close the the story is to his own heart.
For those that aren’t familiar with the story of Jesse L. Brown, he was the very first Black aviator in the Navy. Tom Hudner, was a fellow aviator who became a friend of Brown as the two served during the Korean War. Born in the 1920s, Brown fought to make a name for himself where opportunities didn’t exist for a man who looked like him. The film takes you through many of those struggles of feeling unworthy and feeling like he had to prove himself above and beyond. And of course there are moments where the standards that Brown has to live up to are much higher than the standards of his peers.
In those moments the film is hard to watch as a Black man, even all these years removed. Brown overcomes many of his obstacles and the overbearing pressure he puts on himself. The film does a wonderful job of supplying other light moments to offset the sadness that sometimes comes with watching movies like this. Devotion doesn’t overwhelm, it eases into the history, and the man, balancing this grand story with genuine life moments.
Devotion is a must watch. If not for the masterful performance for Jonathan Majors and his co-stars Glen Powell and Christina Jackson, then for the history lessons sprinkled throughout. Your heart will be full after watching, and if you weren’t already well-versed in the Jesse L. Brown story, you’ll be thankful for introducing yourself to this film.
The Devotion movie released in theaters nationwide on November 23, 2022.
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