Here. Is. Better.: Hope on the Horizon

No matter how one has experienced trauma, it always leaves a mark on the soul. But, Here. Is. Better. wants to remind us that hope still lies on the horizon.

In Here. Is. Better., the viewer has unprecedented access into the counselling sessions of military veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For each of these men and women, the debilitating effects of PTSD make it difficult to make it through the day. But by opening the doors to these conversations, they also open their hearts to find solutions to their suffering. 

Directed by Jack Youngelson, Here. Is. Better. is a powerful conversation disguised as a film. Although the film follows these veterans on their journey towards healing, Better opens the door for anyone to participate. Rather than merely offer the information behind PTSD, Youngelson takes us inside the counselling sessions that allows the veterans to share their traumas in their own words. This openness elevates the film, highlighting the effects of PTSD on the individual as opposed to treating them as a subject for study. In doing so, Better opens the door for deeper conversation by giving spaces of healing for its people.

And, honestly, that’s what makes Better so striking. 

It’s not new for a film to grapple with the effects of PTSD and trauma. However, Better’s ability to take the viewer right into the counselling sessions as these veterans come to terms with their innermost, hurts and fears makes this film something special. Quite frankly, these moments are humbling as we witness these people open their hearts on the road to recovery. Wrestling with the traumas of their past, the viewer can actually follow their eyes as they share moments that they have neither spoken out loud nor shared with anyone else. The power of this should not be lost on anyone. 

These are intimate moments in an intimate space. 

However, Better also invites the viewer to join in these conversations as well. With strong teaching, the audience is offered the opportunity for the session to speak to their own lives. As a result, as each session unfolds, the viewer moves from observer to indirect participant. Suddenly, the film opens the conversation surrounding PTSD to embrace the stories of others beyond the military. Although they may not have experienced the same distress as the film’s subjects, there is an acknowledgement that all traumas matter and affect everyone differently. Stories of abuse, toxicity and hurt affect the souls of countless others and Betterreaches out to them with an inclusive voice. (After all, we are told that “trauma is trauma is trauma“.) 

In this way, there’s a certain beauty to Here. Is. Better. that makes it special. This isn’t a story about gaining information as much as it is about sharing in hope. The stories of these veterans matters as they cope with unimaginable horrors that they witness first hand. But, while they’re the film’s focus, Better wants to make things better for others as well.

Here. Is. Better. is available on VOD on Tuesday, June 27th, 2023.

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