I have an older brother that looks like Cuba Gooding Jr.; however, that is not the only reason why I liked the movie “Men of Honor.” The movie is one of those inspiring stories that makes us want to be brave and uncompromising in order to achieve a goal, even though that goal was never meant for our own gain but a promise to a loved one. I could instantly relate to the movie because I know firsthand how it feels like to be in need, in want, to have nothing and gaining something special and holding on to it to break free of your current situation. The life of Master Diver Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is a story shared by every man and woman who had gone through the same or similar struggles in life.
Brashear lived in a time where he not only had to deal with the fact that he was poor, but also from the racial discrimination, which was still common at that time between the white and the black people in the United States. His father was so concern for their future didn’t want any of his children ending up like him, a poor farmer. So he made Carl promise him to join the U.S. Navy and not to return until he became an ensign and so he did, but the fulfillment of that promise came a little late because Carl’s father had passed away just when he passed the exams also.
Well maybe Carl’s father did not want the promise to be kept for him only but for Carl and his family too! In the early years of his career Carl was still subjected to racial discrimination but thanks to Master Chief Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro) his commanding officer, he was given a chance to prove himself, because he got so much potential to become a sailor. And because Sunday sided with Brashear he too received the underserved penalty for being good to his fellow man, sadly everyone looked at Carl as just a black man and nothing more. However, Carl’s heroic performance while he was with the USS Hoist in retrieving an atomic bomb from the Palomares B-52 crash in Spain gained him the National Hero recognition, and despite the accident that cost him his leg he was still reinstated to full active duty. Thanks to the help of his superior Master Chief Billy Sunday.
Both De Niro and Gooding Jr. received the Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in movies prior to this one (i.e. The Godfather II for De Niro and Jerry McGuire for Gooding Jr.), and under the guidance of director George Tillman Jr. they were able to tell the story of Master Diver Carl Brashear in a very sublime manner that appealed to all audiences. The movie scored $82,343,495 in the box office also, indicating a warm reception from movie goers.