I just saw An Officer and a Gentleman. This is an oldie but a goody, starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger. There is definately some harsh content, in terms of language and sexuality, so it is not for kids. But it has a profound message, so if you are one who can see beyond those elements, I would highly recommend it.
In the story, Zack (Gere) is a young man with a checkered past. His mother committed suicide when he was about 12. His father is in the Navy, but is an irresponsible father, constantly carousing with prostitutes, even getting his son to join in on some of his escapades. This continues when Zack gets to young adulthood. Somehow, he musters up the energy and courage to imagine himself into a better life, though. He joins the Navy, in the hope of becoming an officer and flying jets. He is immediately subjected to the humiliations that come with training. Sgt. Foley, who trains him and the other new recruits, is a foul-mouthed, tough soldier who will do everything ("fair and unfair") to test the mettle of the new recruits. Zach starts out with an attitude problem, pretty much just caring about himself, a defense mechanism which he has developed through life.
Then Zack meets Paula (Winger), a young woman who works in a nearby factory. Paula gives him something to look forward to...seeing her. He actually begins to fall in love with her...and he has never had a real relationship of love with a woman before. The local women have a reputation for tricking the officer candidates by any means necessary to get them to marry them...a ticket out of poverty and a boring life...and into an exciting life overseas. Paula's best friend attempts to trick Zack's best friend, telling him she is pregnant...with disastrous results that bring back Zack's past all over again. Paula cannot bring herself to do this to Zack, although she is tempted when he begins to pull away from her. But she realizes that if she tries to trick him, the love will not be real. She will have him for real or not at all.
Meanwhile, Zack continues to face the harsh endurance test of training. Many times he is brought to the end of himself and brought face to face with the question of who he really is. Is he a quitter...or a man who stick with things through the long haul? Is he in this just for himself...or can he start to care about others? Is he an officer...or a wannabe? But ultimately, the question is: will he be defined by his past? Or will he be able to see himself as something more, someone overcoming all of that?
I saw this theme of identity as relating to us as Christians. We each probably have something from our past...maybe before the Lord, maybe while we were young or immature...maybe abuse of someone in power over us...something that haunts us and tries to tell us that we're a nobody. We have a challenge before us...and it's every bit as tough as Zack's physical and mental ordeal to become a Navy officer...the challenge is to truly BELIEVE that in Christ, we are someone made new. We are no longer defined by the past. Although it is a part of our life...we are someone who is made new. We have a new identity in Christ...the issue is whether we will seize upon it...and live up to it.
The closing of the movie ends with Zack moving on with his life and seizing his new identity. It's an exhilerating moment...and the movie ends with the song, "Love, lift us up where we belong." That isn't just an inspirational thought. Where do human beings belong? As overcomers...rising above the brokenness of the first Adam, to the new life of the new Adam. For us as Christians, the love that heals us and sets us free (as Paula's did for Zack...enabling him to believe in himself) is the love of Christ...and the love of spouses who see us with the eyes of love (mine does for me)...or Christian friends who believe in us and encourage us...you know who it is for you...But God uses them all to "lift us up where we belong."