27 September 2023

A Journal for Jordan

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director and co-producer: Denzel Washington, Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Academy Award-winning American actor, director and producer, Denzel Washington (Glory, Training Day) gets behind the camera (for the fourth time) to deliver an emotion-charged drama about First Sergeant Charles Monroe King, a soldier who was deployed to Iraq. It’s while he’s stationed there, King keeps a journal of love and advice for his infant son.

In 2005, he began writing the journal for his son in case he did not make it home from the war in Iraq. King, 48, was killed on 14 October 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated under his Humvee on an isolated road near Baghdad. His son, Jordan, was seven months old.

This real-life story is based on the 2008 memoir from publisher and former New York Times reporter Dana Canedy titled, A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor. She was pregnant when King was deployed.

The journal she gave became a succor for him, a safe place to connect with home at the end of the day. He wrote about his dreams for his son, the lessons he had learned about life (including treating women with respect,not being ashamed to cry) and about being a man. “Crying can release a lot of pain and stress. It has nothing to do with your manhood.”

The film’s title is A Journal for Jordan, but the movie is really two journals, kept by both parents of a baby whose father would meet him only once before being killed. It is the story of an improbable romance between two very different people and the everlasting bond that they both wanted their son to understand. Over-sentimental it may be, but the couple’s blossoming, heartfelt love is not without its problems.

The film is an intensely effusive journey, charting the course of the couple’s relationship from their first meeting to after his death.

It’s tearful, partly due to the performance by Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four, Fruitvale Station, Without Remorse) in the romantic lead. He’s an action star who shows his other side with melodramatic seriousness. Chanté Adams (Roxanne Roxanne, The Photograph) plays the fiercely independent Canedy.
This film, from a screenplay written by Virgil Williams, is a family legacy that’s delivered with credibility.

  • A Journal for Jordan is out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital

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