Audiences took to the skies earlier this year courtesy of the summer blockbuster TOP GUN: MAVERICK. But there are so many more stories that can be told in the world of aviation, and one of the strongest is making its way to AMC Theatres beginning in November. J.D. Dillard’s DEVOTION is based on the true story of Black fighter pilot Jesse Brown (played by the excellent Jonathan Majors), who enlists in the U.S. Navy in an effort to assist our country’s war effort in WWII. But by the time Brown passes all of his requisite training, the war has ended, leaving him and his fellow fighter pilots in a state of limbo.
DEVOTION follows the powerful friendship that eventually is forged between Jesse Brown and fellow pilot Tom Hudner (Glen Powell, who also starred in TOP GUN: MAVERICK). The movie explores the trust that has to form between brothers in service, and the fear of what happens when Naval pilots leave home to fight in conflict. And it also shines a light on a U.S. war that’s often overlooked in military movies: The Korean War of 1950-53.
“The Korean War is often considered ‘The Forgotten War,’ and with that there are many heroes who did not get the attention they deserved,” said Tony Bell, General Manager of the AMC Market Square 10 and a member of the African American Experience Council. “One of those is Jesse L. Brown. He might be considered the Jackie Robinson of the U.S. Navy Flight Training program!”
At AMC we're seeking to define opportunities to educate, empower and embrace diversity with perspectives and leadership from groups like our African American Experience Council.
Here are three reasons why you need to see DEVOTION when it opens at AMC Theatres beginning on November 23.
Devotion Is Educational
Very few audience members heading into DEVOTION likely knew the legacy of the Naval Aviator, Jesse Brown. Through Jonathan Majors’s awards-worthy performance, you will meet a family man who was extremely dedicated to his wife, Daisy Brown (Christina Jackson), as well as to his country. Specifically, you’ll learn about a group of soldiers who joined our war effort too late, and felt this overwhelming need to serve, even though at the time, there was no war in which to contribute. It created conflicting emotions inside the men and women who were part of this compelling story, and you will leave DEVOTION knowing more about their struggles than when you went in.
The Film Empowers Its Audience
Jesse Brown’s story isn’t entirely unique. As one might expect, given that DEVOTION is set during the 1950s, Brown encounters racism in certain corners of the military, and in pockets of the world where the Navy sends him. In one particularly striking scene, a major news outlet wants to feature Jesse on its front cover for being a Black pilot. But he refuses to be categorized that way, saying he’s simply a pilot, and no different from the other men who are laying their lives on the line each time they fly. DEVOTION spends a lot of time portraying Brown as a pilot who trusts his instincts and flies by feeling – which can get him in trouble, but can also cause him to soar. His triumphs will be felt by audiences worldwide.
Devotion Embraces The Power Of Friendship
An extremely important takeaway from J.D. Dillard’s DEVOTION is that Tom Hudner sought to befriend Jesse Brown, but their relationship isn’t as smooth as Hudner naively believed it was going to be. There are different realities that each man lives, and when Hudner tries to see things through Brown’s eyes, he doesn’t quite have the life experiences Brown has had, which force him to view things through the lens of race. But as these men work together, and fight alongside each other, a friendship is born that spans generations, and still exists between the Brown and Hudner families to this day.
DEVOTION is an important movie, but also an entertaining one, which will educate audiences and empower them to seek out similar friendships. Life changes with them, and without them. It’s recommended by the Council on the AMC African American Experience, whose objective is to strengthen AMC's culture by defining opportunities to embrace our diversity, lead with fairness and impartiality, and create a more inclusive work environment. The council aims to bring diverse African American perspectives, from both associates and guests to drive key initiatives and continue to evolve AMC as a modern company.
Make sure you have tickets to see DEVOTION at an AMC Theatres near you for when it opens on November 23rd.