Reality is never fair: A review of "Only the Brave"


"Hotshots" is the name given to the elite line of men and women fighting our nation's wildfires. They are on the front lines as the devastating flames envelop the land around them. We take a look at just one group of hotshots in the new film, "Only the Brave." 
Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) has been working for years to get his fire crew certified as hotshots. His team is comprised of a variety of individuals, from the veterans who have been with him for years to the newbies he gives a chance to cut their teeth and prove they belong. One of those newer additions is Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller), who is trying to straighten his life out after finding out his girlfriend is pregnant. Though most aren't sold on bringing Brendan onto the team, including a man who went through an EMT class with him, Marsh takes a chance, and gives the young man an opportunity that few would.
When Eric's men are finally evaluated, there is no question -- they have the training, the required hours and the drive to join the nation's elite. When the team is certified, they become known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots and will be there on the front lines fighting for their friends, their family, their brothers and themselves. As a unit, they are more than just coworkers; they are family, stronger as one group than they could ever be as individuals. They are well-oiled machines who will follow Marsh into any battle they are called to fight.
Since the film is based on a true story, many will know the outcome. I won't say more about the plot at this point. There are fires to be fought, battles to be won and relationships to be forged. All this will happen during the slightly over two-hour runtime.
The film brings together a great cast including Brolin and Jennifer Connelly as Eric and Amanda Marsh, a couple with more in common than anyone knows and a deeper -- if sometimes flawed -- bond then most. Teller as McDonough shows a man longing to be an adult, a dad to his daughter, and to support those around him. While he can't understand why Marsh takes him on, he has nothing but gratitude and love for his mentor.
Despite all of the negativity flying in the world about every topic under the sun, Only the Brave offers us hope. Hope as we look to the future. Hope as we recognize that we are all on the same team. Hope that we can sometimes be as strong as those who stand up for us when we cannot. I have nothing but gratitude for those who sacrifice and run towards the danger in society. Thank you.
And to the makers of "Only the Brave," thank you to you, too. You've put together a film that is as beautiful and terrible as the bear that Eric Marsh describes in the film. It's a fitting and very poignant tribute to the Granite Mountain Hotshots and their families. Reality is never fair -- but it is reality.
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