In 1994, Rwanda was ripped apart as the Hutu people slaughtered close to a million of their country members of the Tutsi minority. Against the background of this Rwandan genocide, Beautifully Broken tells the story of three families from two different continents and divergent cultures who are brought together by a desire to take care of their families.
"No man knows how or when his test will come, or how far he will go to protect the ones he loves," intones the film's narrator, first looking back at the way that his family experienced tragedy and then moving forward to show the incredible way that love wins.
The director of Rwandan National Coffee Company, William Mwizerwa (Benjamin Onyango) serves as the narrator and catalyst for the film's narrative. He experiences the genocide firsthand, and finds himself separated from his wife and daughter in the mid-1990s. Ten years later, his world starts to shrink, as U.S. businessman Randy Hartley (Scott Williams Winters) finds his daughter, Andrea (Emily Hahn), drawn into the African world by an adopt-a-child moment at a Tobymac concert, even as she wrestles with a sexual assault that she will only confide in with her African penpal; Hartley's friendship with William shows him how he might get involved in helping in Africa, even as his own family wrestles with his daughter's secret; Mwizerwa's journey out of Rwanda takes him into the orbit of another interconnected family, and finally, back to Rwanda.
The cast and crew is remarkable in its own right among fans of Christian films and music. Joining the cast are Eric Roberts, Michael W. Smith, and Tobymac. Producers of the films Caged No More, I'm Not Ashamed, God's Not Dead, War Room, and The Shack teamed up to oversee the filming on location in Port Alfred, South Africa, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; the title song finds country music’s John Berry and gospel artist CeCe Winans singing alongside recording artist Plumb.
The film itself is beautifully shot and incredibly scripted, with dynamic action that often implies violence or tragedy in a powerful way without overwhelming us visually. The powerful witness of forgiveness (both personally and culturally) shines through the film in ways that cannot be missed or ignored, as well as the way that family and friendship in the body of Christ rises above the things which hold us back and keep us apart.
While the film tells a story that families will find powerful and moving, it also challenges the audience to get involved, both immediately in their own home and in the world community. The power of family and the hope we have through the redemptive power of the cross is moving - and it will refuse to leave you passively watching after the credits roll.
Beautifully Broken arrives in theaters on August 24, 2018.