A Better Man 2017
Distributed by Women Make Movies, 115 W. 29th Street, Suite 1200,New York, NY, 10001; 212-925-0606
Directed by Lawrence Jackman
DVD, color, 88 min.
Psychology, Interpersonal Relations, Counseling, Domestic Violence
Date Entered: 10/05/2018Reviewed by Johnnie N. Gray, Director of Media Services, Christopher Newport University
This documentary follows Attiya Khan on a difficult and personal journey as she meets with an ex-boyfriend that victimized her. The ex, known as Steve, agrees to talk and go to counselling together so that she can explore the reasons behind his physical attacks on her. Kahn seeks restorative justice by visiting their old haunts and reliving years of trauma, in an effort to understand why the abuse was done to her. The ex, goes with her and attempts to recall situations of abuse that she remembers vividly yet he fails to recall. She feared for her life much of the time they were together, not knowing if it was her fault or his. Initially started by Steve wanting to meet with Khan to express remorse and regret, Khan felt that it did not help with emotional healing. She embarked on creating this documentary to not only help heal herself, but help others as well.
Kahn has what most would consider a successful life with a husband, son and career. Her pain in the documentary is difficult to watch at times. Counseling sessions with the two are graphic yet cathartic. The viewer feels as though they are sitting in on an intimate session they shouldn’t be privy to. Steve is visibly shaken at times, provoking a kind of pity in the viewer, even though he was the tormentor for Khan for the years they were together.
A discussion guide is featured on the website for the film and is geared towards starting conversations about abuse in relationships. A good documentary for those studying psychology or counseling. A well made and thoughtful film, A Better Man will also benefit researchers of abuse and interpersonal relationships. .