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When I Came Home - documentary DVD / arthouse and international DVD / foreign language DVD review
WHEN I CAME HOME Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 3 stars
Featuring: Herold Noel, Nicole Goodwin, Nicole Prince, Ricky Singh, Paul Rieckhoff
Director: Dan Lohaus   Distributor: Brave New Films
DVD release: 2006   Runtime: 70 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, Widescreen
DVD Features: Audio tracks (English)

The 2006 documentary by Dan Lohaus, When I Came Home, shows the dark side of war for returning American veterans. Filmed in a large city, Lohaus follows Iraq War veteran Herold Noel who, with nowhere else to go, is living in his car, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Herold comes from a background of little hope and so did what many inner-city youth have done: signed up to join the military and learn skills they can use at home, along with receiving a steady paycheck and the option to attend school on the government's tab. But, like so many others, Herold is unable to use the education benefit promised him until he is able to negotiate his familiar world with a new and unfamiliar disability that affects everything in his life - PTSD.

Herold makes dozens of telephone calls a day to Veterans Assistance for help with housing and his PTSD, and he visits numerous offices in person. The answers, if one can call them that, are the same: If he wants help, he cannot be homeless. Yet, in order to not be homeless he would have to live in an overcrowded, unsafe shelter with his young family. Herold refuses to do this, and his wife has left him to live with her family.

Lohaus has uncovered a deep and growing trend among our returning Iraq soldiers, a trend that America has seen before during and after the Vietnam War: the abandonment of our heroes who risk their lives to keep us safe at home. When they return, no one - including their own government who sent them into battle - is willing to treat him and give him what was promised. Taking a frank and startling look at one of a rapidly growing number of Iraq soldiers who are returning with PTSD and living on the streets due to inadequate or unavailable treatment programs, When I Came Home should inspire the American public to demand an end to this treatment of our soldiers immediately and a beginning to the care and attention they deserve.

[When you buy the DVD, Lohaus Films LLC donates $5 to one of several homeless veterans organizations]
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reviewed by Lucinda Tart
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