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Beyond Borders Starring Angelina Jolie

Updated on March 16, 2015
Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean resides in North Dakota where she works as a freelance writer and blogs at Faith's Mom's Blog.

When it comes to movies, I must admit I am a little behind the times. For instance, this movie, Beyond Borders, came out in 2003 but I just recently heard of it for the first time. After watching it, I felt a myriad of emotions from sadness to anger but most of all the movie for me was heart wrenching.

Heart wrenching because, although fiction, it is real. The world today is filled with millions of refugees displaced by war, famine and political corruption. In fact, according to the UN Refugee Agency, as of 2013 there were over 16 million refugees around the world. As a result of being displaced, too many are looking for food and shelter all at the same time making it a tremendous effort to feed, clothe and shelter all of them. This movie depicts this reality in three different countries - Ethiopia, Cambodia and Chechnya.

Movie star Angelina Jolie
Movie star Angelina Jolie | Source

About the Movie

At the beginning of the movie an English doctor named Nick (Clive Owen) crashes an Aid Relief Event held in honor of Sarah's (Angelina Jolie) father-in-law. During his escapade, Nick brings in an Ethiopian refugee and demands more money for their camp. Sarah gets swept away with compassion by Nick's plea and decides to use her savings account to join a relief effort in Ethiopia.

While in Ethipoia, Sarah gets hit hard by the harsh reality of those living in the refugee camps. In one particular scene, she demands the driver of the truck they are in to stop so she could run and rescue a dying baby from a vulture who is waiting nearby. She then finds the baby's wounded mother and they bring both mother and baby back to the camp. What struck me about this scene is that while the baby and the mother are lying there dying in the dessert, the rest of the refugees, knowing there was nothing they could do, kept on walking.

After spending time in Ethiopia, Sarah goes back to England to work for the United Nations. By doing so, she keeps in touch with Nick's relief group and after a request by them for help getting supplies to a relief camp in Cambodia, Sarah decides to personally make sure the shipment arrives safely.

Cambodia, though much different than Ethiopia, has it's own harsh realities including land mines, corruption and a fight for weapons. Unknown to Sarah, the shipment she approved contains guns. Without guns, the rebels controlling that part of the country would not allow food to go through to the camps. Nick tries to convey to Sarah that he sometimes needed to bend the rules in order for thousands of lives to be saved. Also while in Cambodia, tragedy strikes as an army rebel hands a baby a grenade and in an effort to save the baby, one of the relief workers loses his life.

Some years later, Sarah loses contact with Nick and after getting help to locate him, she goes to Chechnya where she discovers he has been missing. Chechnya proves to be a cold, dire place as they not only have to survive with little food, but survive the freezing weather as well. It is here that the end of the story takes place and because I don't want to give the ending way, I can't really say too much about this part of the movie. What I can say is that the decisions Sarah made really upset me and I was not at all thrilled with the ending.

Highly Recommended

Even though this movie is rated R, I do highly recommend Beyond Borders because I think it gives an accurate portrayal about what really goes on inside these refugees camps. Although I am aware there is a dire situation when it comes to world hunger, it was an eye opener for me especially to see how much corruption there is between governments. Watching this movie has given me an even greater appreciation for all of those who work in such dire conditions to help care for the millions of refugees around the world.

Reviewer's warnings: Nick, the English doctor does swear a lot and some of the scenes are very hard to watch. There is also one scene with partial nudity.

Angelina Jolie visits Nzolo Camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Angelina Jolie visits Nzolo Camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo | Source

Real Life Humanitarian

Besides just playing one, actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie is a real-life humanitarian. As an advocate for refugees, Jolie serves as a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Because of her efforts, she has been known to be one of the most powerful and influential women in America.

In her role as an ambassador, she has traveled to many countries including Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Sudan's Darfur region. She has also pushed for better laws and regulations regarding wildlife conservation, child immigration and human rights. Together with her husband, Brad Pitt, they have six children, three of whom were adopted internationally.

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