Pearl Harbor was directed to be viewed by people who weren’t well educated on the attack on Pearl Harbor or World War II in general. The existing theme of this movie is “don’t let any man pull you low enough to hate him but forgive him instead”. In this story, childhood friends Danny and Rafe come to a crossroad when Rafe volunteers for a mission overseas and is assumed dead and it’s all a mess from there. This theme is found through both setting and character.
The movie is set around December 7th, 1941, better known as “The Day of Infamy”. The situation in which the characters are in opens the door for love to scramble around almost wherever it pleases. Evelyn (Navy nurse) is evaluating the pilots for their eyesight. While Rafe’s eyes are not good, flying means the world to him and Evelyn passes him. They meet again, and promise each other a date. In the midst of Rafe’s romantic evening for her, he tells Evelyn that he plans to go and fight alongside of the English during the Battle of Britain. They write to each other, until Rafe is reported dead after his plane went down in a mission. Back in Hawaii, Danny checks in on Evelyn and they naturally begin to feel protected by one another. They then fall in love. When Rafe is sent to Hawaii after being rescued, turmoil is created between the best friends. This interaction supports the theme because Danny did what no friend should ever do, or have to do…and Evelyn let him. However, when Japanese fighter planes began to fly over the island, Rafe forgave Danny enough to go with him to the hospital to offer any help to Evelyn, and then jump into action with their fellow pilots to fight off Japan by air. Without the attack Rafe may have never stepped back to see the bigger picture, and he wouldn’t have forgiven Danny. The best friends are chosen to go on a raid to return the favor to Japan. Both Danny and Rafe’s planes run out of fuel, and land in a Japanese patrol area. Danny takes the bullets intended for Rafe and dies. Rafe then forgives Evelyn, and becomes the father figure to Danny’s son.
The theme about forgiveness is very fitting for this chick flick set in the middle of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Rafe rises above the cards he’s been dealt and honors his late friend by caring for Evelyn and little Danny instead of allowing the great hatred he could have had for both of them.