Thank You for Your Service (2017)

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The film begins with the arrival of three soldiers after serving a tour in Iraq. Two of them are married – Adam (Miles Teller) is married to Saskia (Haley Bennett) and has two children, while Solo (Beulah Koale) is expecting a child with Alia (Keisha Castle-Hughes). The third of them, Billy (Joe Cole), has a fiancée, but upon arrival he realizes that his house has been emptied and that his fiancée is not responding to messages. His reaction will lead to open conversations in which they reveal that they are by no means ready and able to return to family life – Adam is consumed by guilt because of an injured comrade, while Solo has trauma after the bombing…

Thank You For You Service deals with difficult topics and follows people who, after fighting for their country, receive disappointments and unfulfilled promises at home. The actions of the war created physical and psychological consequences for them, and peacetime conditions create problems for them that they are not ready to deal with. Also, they don’t get answers to their questions when they finally dare to seek help – either they don’t find understanding when talking about war experiences or the people who can help them are busy with thousands of similar cases of war veterans.

At first glance, it can be concluded that the story deals with war heroes who gained their status by combat merit. However, our characters do not believe in such a concept and do not feel like heroes. According to them, they returned home only thanks to circumstances or pure luck, which some other soldiers lacked. Precisely because of that, returnees feel a dose of burden, since only the burden of adjusting to civilian life is heavier. They are grateful that they stayed alive, but they are aware that because of that, someone else had to pay with their lives. Everything they think or feel is hard to put into words, and they see salvation in returning to war-torn areas.

The problems of veterans in American society have been the subject of films since the Vietnam War, but I got the impression that they have multiplied quite a bit lately. Some would say that all this is playing on the card of patriotism, but some authors who do not even need it, such as Richard Linklater, also dealt with this topic. Research has shown that 22 veterans commit suicide daily in the United States, which is proof that the state is not doing enough in that regard. Like the characters in this film, most of them are aware that they need help and do their best so that their families do not suffer those consequences, but there is little chance that they will get that help (or they should wait six to nine months).

Because of all the above, if you are looking for a war movie in the classic sense, Thank You For Your Service is not for you. This is more of a drama that works because of the quality elaboration of the main characters and the great work done by the actors, above all Miles Teller, who is increasingly showing that a bright future awaits him. However, the fact that the film accumulates too much melodrama over time, which escalates into a not very effective ending, could not be avoided, but the fact that everything is based on a book with true stories of soldiers pulls the story forward.