A documentary that gives an insight into how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder effects those who have served for their country; we review My Own War.
There have been numerous documentaries and movies based around war and how it is hell on Earth for those directly involved in it. Now, My Own War takes a look at people who are still suffering from events years later. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is an invisible injury that many veterans carry around with them, unbeknown to others and, though it is sickening and is known to possibly lead to suicide, it’s still not acknowledged and respected enough.
My Own War opens with a series of quick cuts – Images of war, fireworks, veterans addressing the camera. It’s a clever way of driving home the fact that these men and women who have been in life-threatening incidents have to relive those moments over and over again. Innocent things such as fireworks on the fourth of July can trigger awful memories of war. The war may have ended but it’s scar is embed deeply within these veteran’s psyche where it will most likely remain until the end.
What follows is a series of very interesting interviews from many veterans as they talk about their condition and how they struggle from day-to-day. How they have considered ending their own lives and how they would give anything just for their lives to return to normality. It’s heartbreaking to watch and it shows the horrific grip that war holds on those involved. These are strong people (stronger than any I have seen) yet they are brought to their knees by an unseen wound.
One of the many heroes we meet in the film is Lon Hodges, a man whose father was a soldier that died in war. Lon followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the army and served in the Vietnam war. Many years later after leaving the army, he started to suffer from PTSD and found himself confined to his own home for four months. Now, with the help of a beautiful companion – a service dog – Lon tries to live as much as a normal life as he can, but it is difficult. Another former soldier admitted to having no emotional connection with anyone in the world, even his family. It’s tough to watch these fellow human beings having to carry this awful weight around.
Directed by Stacey Stone and produced by Diane Mellen, My Own War is sympathetic to the cause and the documentary is made with love and passion from the film makers. The film is professionally made throughout, with great cinematography, crisp sound and excellent editing; all of which came as no surprise to me, having reviewed an earlier film of theirs – The Man Behind 55,000 Dresses.
My Own War does a fine job of making you think whilst tackling an important subject. Whilst veterans are thanked for their services, Stone and Mellen have shown that a simple gesture isn’t near enough and these people deserve all the help they can possibly get.