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Following a series of intimate conversations between a former couple who lived through two years of domestic abuse, A Better Man infuses new energy and possibility into the movement to end violence against women.

3 out of 4 stars

Title
A Better Man
Directed by
Attiya Khan and Lawrence Jackman
Genre
Documentary
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

This much-hyped documentary, executive produced by Sarah Polley, shows something you don't often see: A man who beat a woman taking stock of the harms he caused, on camera. "Steve" and filmmaker Attiya Khan dated in high school, a two-year relationship that saw near-constant physical and emotional abuse. The last night sees her fleeing down a street and a good Samaritan pulling over in his pickup truck to intervene. This is a highly compassionate look at intimate-partner violence that makes clear abusers need help, not just societal censure: Steve wants to make good with Khan and help others struggling with their own explosive rage – he wants to be "a better man." And Khan wants to repair herself from the trauma that festers in her body and mind, 20 years on. It's a beautiful film that dives into deep waters, although several questions remain unanswered. What in Steve's past made him so violent? Does he still hit women? The filmmakers won't say: These are compromises made in exchange for a rarity on camera.

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