Movie Review: My Name Was Bette: The Life and Death of an Alcoholic
Reviewed by Lily Lui-Krason, 18
My Name Was Bette is a subtly powerful documentary that educates viewers on the drastic effects of alcoholism, especially for women. The documentary centers on the story of one woman, Bette, who is the mother of Sherri VandenAkker, the producer, director, and narrator of the film. As we learn about the life of Bette--her childhood, her ambitions, her struggle, and her decline, we begin to empathize and see the incredible toll that alcoholism took on her. While she was once a strong woman with a career and children and a determination to be independent, she had a weakness that would eventually become her downfall.
The film relates Bette’s situation to a wider spectrum as viewers are given statistics on alcoholism and just how common and deadly alcoholism is for women. Perhaps the most moving part of the film is the point when the question was asked: How many people today are struggling like Bette?
As the documentary points out, women are a lot less likely than men to seek help for addiction to alcohol. Knowing that there are many women out there, each with her own tragic story, who share one potentially fatal problem in common with Bette definitely gives the documentary a bigger impact. The documentary is relatable in many ways as it discusses mother-daughter relationships and the difficulty and conflict that come with aging and elder care. Although the documentary occasionally strayed off topic and the tone of narration became a bit too much like a PSA, the film brings about a new awareness of alcoholism and is well worth watching.
For more information on My Name Was Bette, see: http://www.thebettefilm.com/Home.html and
For more information on alcoholism, see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001940/
For help for alcoholics, see: Alcoholics Anonymous http://www.aa.org
For help for family members, see: Alanon (http://www.al-anon.org)
and Alateen (http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/for-alateen)
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