When a young military wife gets news that her Marine husband has been severely wounded in combat, she discovers that their life ahead is going to be an overwhelming – yet amazing – journey.
We receive many emotionally driven films that hit a soft spot in our hearts, but it’s hard to find any that will match the powerful emotions of Chris King’s short ‘Birthday’, about a severely wounded Marine returning home, and his supportive wife. Rarely have we felt such moments of lows and highs, where pain, desperation and fear turn into hope, perseverance and joy within 12 minutes.
“Birthday” is not pro-war or anti-war. It is a simple story of love, strength and courage through enormous adversity. As a veteran myself, I appreciate greatly the sacrifices our wounded veterans and their spouses have made over the past decade. This is my ode to two souls forging ahead during enormously difficult times, like so many vets and their families have had to do and are still doing.
The film takes an incredible and unique view of a story that’s often forgotten or even avoided. King’s take comes at the most human approach possible, and while looking back at the synopsis we could easily see how such a story could of turned into an over-dramatic tale with thrilling plot twists. Instead we just see a straight forward, realistic never ending battle by a young married couple.
I saw a photo online a few years ago of an unknown, badly injured young Marine in his dress blues. He had the most empty expression on his face. It haunted me. As a vet myself, I always wanted to do a short film of some kind about our troops who are currently serving, but I didn’t know from what angle to approach. I then began thinking about the rehabilitative process that many of our severely wounded troops go through – as well as their families – and so I decided to track down that Marine in that photograph. He turned out to be Kyle Carpenter from South Carolina. He had jumped on top of a grenade, losing his eye, having his jaw blown out and shredding his arm and leg. Kyle became our first consultant on our film and two years later would receive the Medal of Honor.