Everyday Activist - Heroin(e) (Oscars 2018)

Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 08:00 AM

Heroin(e) (Oscars 2018)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

With the Oscar top 5 lists ready to be announced next week, I figured that I should write about some of the films I’ve seen. Netflix has been a great resource for me over the last few weeks and Heroin(e) can be found on there too. The movie profiles three women, Judge Patricia Keller, Fire Chief Jan Rader and Necia Freeman, a realtor volunteering with the Brown Bag Ministry, doing their best to address the opioid crisis in their community of Huntington, West Virginia.

Rather than chronicle the epidemic through the eyes of injury and unemployment, Heroin(e) shows how people pull together to make a difference. Judge Patricia Keller runs the drug court in her county. While I’m not exactly sure about what happens there, in Canada, drug court provides alternatives to incarceration, including treatment, access to social services, clinical case management, incentives and sanctions as well as other services for a year to about eighteen months. Ironically, if these people had access to this amount of care and support prior to drug use they probably would haven’t used at all.

Out of the judicial system and on the front lines, Necia volunteers to deliver sandwiches to prostitutes and helps them access services if necessary. Her efforts remind me of Allan Law, the sandwich man of Minneapolis, who roams the streets at night handing out food to those in need. Jan Rader keeps saving people from drug overdoses, giving them chances to straighten out their lives.

Watching people go through so much pain on screen is hard; not only the addicts, but also the first responders. Jan voices her concern over the mental health of the young men on her team, who started their careers constantly exposed trauma and death. Watching their faces, signs of post traumatic stress clearly emerge. They could easily be next in line for addiction if their issues are not addressed properly.

Pain management principles boil down to caring enough about oneself and each other to build a sense of community for support during stressful times. The lessons of self compassion become easier when people like Jan, Necia and Patricia go beyond their mandate to care about those suffering. The most rewarding parts of the film are when people succeed and openly credit the compassion these women as being part of their story.

I have only seen four of the 10 Documentary Shorts on 2017 Oscars Shortlist films, but I think this one will be shortlisted.

Calgary Showtimes: Heroin(e) >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.