Movie Review Sample Papers

Movie Review Sample Papers

Movie Reflection – Islam In America

Why movies and not just books alone? This question I will think of it as subjective. Many people will say that it is their hobby, some as a way of spending their leisure time while others as a source of entertainment. Most importantly, every movie has a message in the form of a theme that the producer wants to communicate. In this piece of writing am going to reflect on the movie titled “Islam In America” that was released on February 25th, 2018 by Aljazeera. In the movie, Rageh Omaar seeks to gain insight on the history of Islamic faith in America. He travels across the United states interviewing various Muslim Americans with the aim of understanding what it means to be a Muslim in America, a topic covered by a lot of prejudices.

Many like Rageh Omaar thought that America and Islam are in a dynamic conflict type of relationship. This belief was exacerbated by the election of President Donald Trump in 2016 who later banned travel into the United States from six Muslim nations (Khan et al., 2019). However, as the movie reveals, Islam is the fastest growing religion in America. For the past two centuries, Muslim Americans have enshrined their story into larger American history. From the movie, 30% of the first African slaves in America were Muslims (Diouf, 2021).

They settled in the southern state of Mississippi. However, deprived of their right to worship freely, they converted to Christianity. In 1865, slave trade was abolished, and the former laborers and slaves were freed. They moved to the northern state of Chicago, escaping the segregation, racism and bigotry that characterized the south. Chicago offered a diversity of respect, opportunities, freedom of expression and made them feel at home. Over the years, the Islam religion began to thrive, leading to the emergence of such charismatic leaders and personalities as Malcom X and Mohammed Ali.

In my opinion from the movie, American Muslims are happy to be in America. The various respondents in the movie strongly acknowledge America as their home. Abdi Mohammed, for example, considers America first and would sacrifice his life in defending it. Keith Ellison beats all the odds to become the first Muslim congressman having garnered votes overwhelmingly from Jewish and Christian communities.

However, living in America as a Muslim comes with challenges (Al Jazeera English, 2018); for instance, the voice of a Muslim woman has not been heard for over 1400 years. Further, Muslims have been the victims of distrust and hate following the heinous 9/11 terror attack of the twin towers. Moreover, Professor Rula Jebreal argues that Muslims are under-represented in political arena and media (Al Jazeera English, 2018).

From this excerpt, Islamic indeed is a fast-growing religion as evidenced by majority of them being converts including prisoners after serving their jail term. Furthermore, the Muslims are part of America and they enjoy their freedom according to the united states constitution and therefore can participate in the democratic processes. I will give the movie a score of 80%. The movie has successfully presented its theme by exploring the views of Muslims living in America. In addition, the movie has given the world another view of the Islamic faith despite the preformed prejudices and preconceptions. I will recommend other viewers to watch the movie.


  • Al Jazeera English. (2018). Islam in America. Retrieved from
  • Diouf, S. (2021). Muslims in America: A forgotten history. Ihsan Center – Islam From The Heart. Retrieved 18 April 2021, from
  • Khan, M., Adnan, H., Kaur, S., Khuhro, R., Asghar, R., & Jabeen, S. (2019). Muslims’ Representation in Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim-Islam Statement: A Critical Discourse Analysis. Religions, 10(2), 115–. doi:10.3390/rel10020115

Movie Review 2: Beautifully Broken

The movie “Beautifully Broken” (2018) is based on a true story, and it is the epitome of struggle, pain, and love. The movie, directed by Eric Welch, has a robust Christian worldview and is very inspiring. The film is about three families who undergo sexual assault and war trauma. The families’ common ground is that they have common challenges and have shared views of God’s healing power, reconciliation, and forgiveness in all their traumatic experiences (Woodbury, 2020). The cohesiveness herein is impressive.

The families are from different cultures, religions, and social-economic backgrounds, but that does not deter them from working together to overcome their flaws. The film is seen as a haven for broken hearts to repair, where painful, traumatic underserving experiences are forgotten and a new and better life sprouts. From a Christian worldview, the movie Broken and “beautiful” solidifies to the believers the meaning of the verse Psalms 103:10 “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (NIV).

The movie’s first scene is the initial days of the brutal pursue and murder of the Tutsi tribe in the Rwandan Genocide, 1994. Vicious militia troops wielding guns and machete perform the hot pursue. William Mwizerwa (Benjamin A. Onyango) is one of the dads in the three families depicted in the movie and one of those who survived the attack. He is a spiritual Tutsi man, a devoted father, and a husband who managed a local coffee shop. After missing death narrowly after an encounter with the Hutu militia troops, he manages to escape with his family.

Hutu Mugenzi (Bonko Khoza) is another dad whose life follows a different storyline. He is a sharecropper and is forced to make a callous decision in his life. At times, life can be so unfair, but we have to be brave enough to survive. He is forced to join one of the militia troops to keep his wife and daughter breathing. Many people died during the genocide, and among them was Benjamin’s mother, who was killed by her nephew. After the war regressed, Benjamin migrated to the US.

Benjamin made the hard decision to leave his family behind to find a better life for all of them, and he believed going to the US was an excellent opportunity to do it. Partying with his family was not easy, and he left behind two sullen faces. In the US, he meets Randy, his wife, and her daughter, Andrea. Randy is an American who works extra hard to provide for his family. Andrea and Umuhoza (Bonko’s daughter) become pen pals through a sponsorship program. Bonko Khoza had been imprisoned for a while, leaving her daughter under the care of her mother before being released and reunited with his family. Benjamin became a migrant at Randy’s church, and these three families become intertwined. Benjamin missed his family a lot and tried to have his family join him abroad in vain. He is a man of faith and keeps the faith that he shall be reunited with his family someday.

Benjamin, not losing hope, embarks on a project helping foreigners settle in the US. Lucky for him, his faith does not fail him, and his family finally joins him in the United States. Benjamin’s and Randy’s families are united and form close bonds. This was basically due to their love for God and the presence of two teen daughters. Randy’s daughter, Andrea, just like Benjamin’s daughter, was traumatized. Randy had been so busy providing for the physiological needs of his family that he had no time for spiritual and emotional support that her daughter needed. Andrea would play loud music, shut the door to her room and leave home without permission and her mother was concerned about these behaviors.

Andrea has her little secrets. She was raped at the age of 12, but she did not tell anyone except her very supportive pen pal. The incidence of sexual assault must have led to a decrease in self-esteem and self-worth. She used to share her traumatic experiences with Umuhoza, who in turn used to be a great source of encouragement to her. She used to remind Andrea always that she is precious and worthy. Umuhoza was Andrea’s mentor before she becomes rebellious to her parent, even when petty things happened. Andrea developed a pattern of anger outbursts and social withdrawal, especially from those people who loved her. All along, Umuhoza was a great pillar in Andrea’s life.

Umuhoza uses her traumatic life experiences to serve as a source of hope and strength for Andrea. After four years, Andrea experiences a traumatic experience that unearths all her hidden traumas. They become unbearable. It all happens when she goes out with her boyfriend, who tries to force himself on her. The plot does not work, and he revenges by framing her for drugs found in his car. The parents were concerned about her fate and blame themselves for not seeing the red flags and acting accordingly. They had neglected her emotional and spiritual needs due to their busy schedule. Her mother sensed that things are not okay but could not communicate to the husband effectively.

During this time, Randy became very supportive and helped her daughter overcome the traumatic experience effectively. He becomes a spiritually and emotionally supportive dad. Randy is moved by Umuhoza’s help to Andrea and promised Andrea that he would take her to meet her pen pal (She knew Andrea’s secret, hid it all along, and helped her accordingly). Benjamin and Randy arrange a trip back to Rwanda to Umuhoza.

During the tour, several things happen. Benjamin learns that it is Bonka who spared his life during the attack by the militia troops. At the same time, he forgives his aunt for killing his mother and washes her feet as a sign that he had wholly forgiven her. The themes of forgiveness and reconciliation, which are a significant component of the Christian worldview, are depicted at this moment. Randy and Benjamin decided to pay off Umuhoza’s kindness by giving her a scholarship to further her studies. Randy and Benjamin’s families embark on their journey back to the United States.

Therapeutic implications

The movie exhibits several therapeutic interventions. Many individuals use various issues to provide trauma care directly or indirectly. Peculiar to the Christians is the display of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, “Love, joy, peace, patience, meekness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control,” (Galatians 5: 22-23, NIV). Benjamin portrays these qualities as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in him and displays trust, excellent listening skills, and kind-heartedness when working on the migrant project. This character helped migrants settle and have less troubling lives in the US.

Listening to people narrate their traumatic experiences is very therapeutic (Kirtane, 2018). Umuhoza utilized this measure. She was a listener and had built trust with Andrea. She would open up and tell her secrets, such as the sexual assault. For an individual to be open, they need to trust you, and trust is earned. You reinforce it in an individual. One requires to be dependable, confident, non-judgmental, and respectful of others.

Trust is a prerequisite to any effective counseling. Studies show that people shall tend to speak up all inner secrets and details if only they can trust you (Ernst & Maschi, 2018). Building the trust requires accommodating a horde of emotions as anger outbursts, emotional breakdowns, helplessness, hopelessness, and enabling the victims to release these incapacitating emotions. Handling the emotions with concern and offering better outcomes is essential in this therapeutic measure.

Umuhoza and Andrea’s relationship, when contrasted to Andrea and Randy’s relationship, shows a considerable difference. Several communication barriers exist between Andrea and Randy. Different levels of communication determine the extent of intimacy, trust and information shared in relationships (Liberman and Shaw, 2018). Trauma can be traumatic, especially that which involves sexual assault, and sharing could be pretty difficult.

The therapist should hence strive to build trust with the client. Andrea and Umuhoza had created a bond such that she would react to her parents but communicate openly with Umuhoza about her traumatic experiences. It is solemnly essential to listen to people and respond empathetically. From the Christian worldview, listening is better than talking, and the Bible urges us to be better listeners. Proverbs 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame” (NIV). The scriptures also add in Proverbs 18:2, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his own” (NIV).

Another therapeutic implication is empathetic listening. Empathetic listening means listening and acknowledging the individual’s feelings, wills, ideas, and opinions and empowering them. This is a mandatory skill for counselors. It allows an individual to be more open and kindhearted towards other people’s ideas. Empathetic listening probes an individual to be considerate and give well-thought-out responses (McKenna et al., 2020). In return, it helps create a bond and build trust, which is very important in the counseling process.

Trauma victims require careful handling. In the movie, Andrea is left to battle with traumatic experiences alone by her parents, who are too busy even to recognize it until it has gone too far. She loses connection with the family. Adolescence is a susceptible age, and at this time, children require a lot of counseling and bond formation. Families should provide a conducive environment for the holistic development of their children.

Every parent or caregiver should be alert at this stage to advise their children accordingly to enhance coping (McKenna et al., 2020). Trauma at this stage affects the physical aspect and the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being of an individual (Denton et al., 2017). Restoring their emotional, physical and behavioral well-being requires the collaborative efforts of the family, friends, and counselors.

Personal implications

The movie is a replica of what goes on in the world. Most of the scenes are much relatable to my life. Harassment, being deprived of parental love, and being sexually harassed happen virtually every other day. I can relate to how the children feel when their parents had to leave them. Benjamin left home with good intentions of looking for greener pastures, but maybe the child’s developmental levels could not allow her to comprehend that. I remember my dad left home to a far region after being posted by the government there.

He was a high school teacher, but I could not fathom why he had to leave us behind. Spending days before I could see him almost made him a stranger to me until he was reposted to a school nearby. I had so many questions within me, and most of the things he would have taught me I learned through experience and difficulties. Like Andrea, I was sexually assaulted, but I had nobody to report to. I could only share it with a friend of mine and even developed a phobia of going to that neighborhood where I was assaulted. I wanted to talk about it, but there was nobody to help me out.

I faced a lot of worthlessness and, at times, performed very poorly in school, majorly due to low self-esteem. The offender had reaped me of the joy of belonging, safety, and happiness. Every child requires parental love and parental presence.  It must have been traumatic for Umuhazo to imagine that her father was in the militia and more so went to jail and had to be away for some time. Parents need to realize that it is not enough to provide physiological needs and stop there. Children need emotional and spiritual needs too, and parents should address that.

Most importantly, parents should ensure that they create good bonds with their children to ensure effective communication between them and their children. With effective communication, situations like this of Andrea could be recognized early and acted upon promptly. Parents should also ensure that they provide their children a conducive environment for holistic growth.

It is imperative to be supportive of others even during our distress.

The Bible teachings have played a role in reinforcing that aspect in me. I have helped others like Umuhazo did even when I am in distress. The Bible in Isaiah 43: 18-20 encourages me to forgive, heal, forget and move on. “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up…” (NIV). The Bible urges us to actually forget our past traumas and focus on the good in the future.

‘Beautifully broken’ is a movie where the themes of forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope are seen across three different families al throughout the film. The movie reinforces my desire to help others regardless of the situation, background, race, nor ethnicity like Umuhazo did because eventually it pays just like the scriptures say; Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (NIV) Romans 2:6 “God will repay each person according to what they have done” (NIV).

Professional Implications

From the movie, it is clear that everyone is prone to trauma, be it sexual assault or from war. Any therapist should yearn to understand how trauma one has suffered impacts on their life holistically. More so, a therapist can provide specific trauma-informed care to these victims. The families in the movie suffer trauma from different foci, but the trauma is equally destructive. It is also imperative to understand the pathophysiology of trauma and its effects on various systems to manage it effectively.

Management should involve practical adolescent maturity and trauma-informed practices that are holistic and all-inclusive (family included) to foster healing (Ernst & Maschi, 2018). Early recognition and management of trauma can prevent the long-lasting effects that often occur. Trauma can alter brain development and the achievement of developmental milestones in children (Denton et al., 2017). Children often maladapt to traumatic experiences.

They may not speak up but end up exhibiting maladaptive behaviors in other forms that further complicate their lives. These behaviors include drug abuse, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, frustrations, and helplessness (Thege et al., 2017, Moya, 2018). There are no specific approaches to management, and the therapist chooses their most suitable method.

Spiritual assistance coupled with therapeutic interventions can be reinforcing (Cook and White, 2018). Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been effective in treating the psychosocial effects of trauma in children and adults. The approach is rather holistic, encompassing major cohorts such as worry, despair, and specific disorders (Enhlers et al., 2021). Spirituality acts as a source of strength, hope, and resilience to overcome trauma (Cook and White, 2018). Faith and spiritual practices are the driving forces in Christians.

Drawing from the scripture, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God…” (Isaiah 40:10, NIV). Spirituality cannot be overlooked in the recovery of trauma patients. Victims can tap from spirituality and an enormous amount of strength to overcome trauma. The film has a strong Christian worldview, and one can learn that forgiveness and reconciliation encompassed in spirituality can help cope with significant mishaps of life. Psalsm46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…” (NIV). Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe” (NIV). Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (NIV).


‘Beautifully Broken’ expounds on war and sexual assault trauma. It sensitizes the viewers that trauma can occur to anyone and under any circumstances, and parents should be at the frontline in the recognition and management of trauma victims. We should prioritize children’s safety and provide them with a conducive environment for their holistic development. From a Christian worldview, we learn that God can intertwine families regardless of race, ethnicity, or background to mold them and aid in their healing.

Isn’t He an awesome God? Recovery from a traumatic experience requires a holistic approach, and parents and other family members should be involved. Parents should be keen when dealing with their children and adolescents to recognize danger signs early and act accordingly. As seen above, early treatment enhances mental development and reverses potential long-lasting trauma effects.


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  • Denton, R., Frogley, C., Jackson, S., John, M., & Querstret, D. (2017). The assessment of developmental trauma in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Clinical Child Psychology And Psychiatry, 22(2), 260-287.
  • Ernst, J. S., & Maschi, T. (2018). Trauma-informed care and elder abuse: A synergistic alliance. Journal Of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 30(5), 354-367.
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  • Liberman, Z., & Shaw, A. (2018). Secret to friendship: Children make inferences about friendship based on secret sharing. Developmental Psychology, 54(11), 2139.
  • McKenna, L., Brown, T., Oliaro, L., Williams, B., & Williams, A. (2020). Listening in Health Care. The Handbook of Listening, 373-383.
  • Moya, A. (2018). Violence, psychological trauma, and risk attitudes: Evidence from victims of violence in Colombia. Journal of Development Economics, 131, 15-27.
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  • Thege, B. K., Horwood, L., Slater, L., Tan, M. C., Hodgins, D. C., & Wild, T. C. (2017). Relationship between interpersonal trauma exposure and addictive behaviors: a systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1), 1-17.
  • Woodbury, D (2020). Movie Review: Beautifully Broken. Retrieved from