Many people grow up in families where ugliness is ordinary. Being betrayed by a Mother or Father is a big deal because that’s where kids first learn about trust. Alcohol can contribute to a lot of ugliness, as it does for the father in this story.
Forgiveness is not an easy emotion for those who grow up with a history of ugliness. Keeping grudges can go on for decades. Both of the sons are fueled by anger. One is tempered because he found real love in high school. One went to war & lives silently with a lot of darkness.
Pop psychology & preachers seem to believe it is a fast journey to forgiveness. I believe forgiveness is very complex & requires working through the anger to be true. Warrior captures this journey.
The brothers share an intense anger that fuels their ability to fight. There is a purpose to anger. It says “I am important”. Abuse is about the lopsidedness of the abuser being the only one that matters. Anger about being abused is empowering & healing, as long as you don’t get stuck in it, like gum that won’t leave the bottom of your shoe.
Movement through anger to the other side is what we watch on the screen. There is a grittyness to this movie that makes it feel substantial. Pittsburgh is the right place for this movie’s location. (Is it the grit in our Steelers that make them so widely adored?)
When people leap prematurely into forgiveness without being angry it doesn’t feel real.
Be forewarned, like Drive, there is a lot of violence in this movie. Nick Nolte plays the father with 1000 days sober which is not enough evidence to either son. That seemed like a real consequence, that many parents in recovery are unprepared for.
Anger is self protective & it has been earned. Forgiveness has to be earned also. Just like the wife or husband who takes time to heal after an affair. Forgiveness is not easy, quick or fast. Warrior is a movie that understands there is a process.
Forgiveness is not an easy path to walk and it takes a lot of time & painful honesty so that people can begin to relocate their hearts.