William and Ebraille Mwizerwa and their young daughter, Aimee, had to flee their hometown when Rwanda erupted into civil war. As they ran, they were saved from certain death by Mugenzi, a Hutu farmer who’d been forced into the war. Eventually William made it to the United States as a refugee, with the intention of getting approval to bring his wife and daughter as soon as possible.
When he gets to the U.S., William lives in a church parsonage in Nashville, Tenn., where he meets Randy Hartley. Randy is an ambitious businessman who works hard to provide everything his family could ever want—though what they need most is more of his attention. When she’s not cheerleading or riding horses, his daughter, Andrea, writes letters to Umuhoza, the Rwandan girl the Hartleys are supporting through Compassion International. Umuhoza also happens to be the daughter of the Hutu farmer Mugenzi.
If I’d read a fictional story with this plot, I would have called it contrived. But this actually happened, proving that truth really is stranger than fiction.
Unfortunately, all of Randy’s money can’t fix everything. The fault lines in his family widen when Andrea is attacked, an event she keeps to herself, feeling too ashamed to tell her parents. Overnight she becomes a different person, and the Hartleys are left to wonder what is going on.
These characters are all based on real people, and the film tells the story of how each of these three families is intertwined in real life. Their terrifying experiences are told onscreen, though the camera cuts away from the worst of the violence. Over the course of the narrative, each family finds healing from their individual traumas and brokenness as they show grace to each other.
While this film suffers from some clichéd dialog and wooden acting—and at a couple of points it feels like a long-form ad for Compassion International—the testimony of the people involved shines through. Beautifully Broken will prompt viewers to consider the needs of those who are right in front of them, down the street or across the world. (Big Film Factory)