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Reflections on the Film

Share your response to The Hungry Heart with others who were impacted by the film. All comments will be read by a moderator before being posted on the site. Please be respectful of the impact of your words and descriptive terms may have on others. Moderators may edit comments for content (credit sadler). If approved by a moderator, your comment will appear within 24 hours.

  • Brandi

    The hungry heart is an amazing documentary that everyone should see. For people that don’t understand the cycle of addiction, or people in recovery. Every piece of this movie I can relate to and to see a community come together and address the issue has been longed for by many. This movie really hits home and gives a great understanding of opiate addiction. I’m very glad I was able to see the premier showing! This movie is amazing!!!

  • Joe

    Great film!

  • Ryanmit1

    “It was great to see the film last night….. it was a worthy tribute to just one part of all you’ve done for all of our children. Making them feel important and valued and worthy of our respect and attention and love came through so well. To me that’s the big important message.

    I couldn’t stay for the post film conversation. But I wanted to say I saw the babies and toddlers and preschoolers in the eyes and the hearts of the young people in the film. There’s so much more we should all be doing. Earlier. Better. More publicly. The film was a great start in the right direction and I hope it gets everyone talking, that the foundation and the opportunities for these children exceeds what either of us can ever imagine. I also hope that it doesn’t take the extraordinary efforts and compassion of someone like Fred Holmes to be the only lifeline they have available.”

    ~Mark Sustic

  • Suzie

    I saw the Burlington premiere of the The Hungry Heart. Wow! Incredibly moving and an important, powerful message to all those whose lives have been touched by addiction and recovery. I believe all community members, especially parents, health practitioners, legislators, educators, and faith communities, should see this film! You will never view the disease of addiction the same again.

  • Les Allen

    This film is gut wrenching and heartbreaking but at the same time heart warming! I think truth about our children hurts, but it is through this pain we all learn. As I watched it in the Flynn last night I saw many people that are in recovery. I saw many people that are professionals that are in this field to help those in need. I am sure there were just everyday people that came to watch and carry the message to those still suffering!

    It was a very courageous venture for these young people in St. Albans to open theirs lives so we may learn. In recovery we talk about anonymity, but I have always felt if one is antonymous they can’t help spread the message, like these strong few did! It was also courageous for those on stage before the film to proclaim their recovery.

    This film was very hard for me to watch for personal reasons. Although my son was not in the film, that was him on the screen. The drug usage, out of high school, anger management, the foster homes (for we couldn’t handle him), homeless, crime, and suicide attempts. All this happening while I was getting drunk and not paying attention to his needs. The scene in the movie in the cemetery, that grave was my son’s cousin that died. I can remember the past and the pain, but not change it, just let it change me for the better. Now I have 14 years in recovery and my son is on 7 (for which I am so proud of him) because of our sobriety and recovery we have gotten so much closer.

    Bess you are a Godsend. The message you are sending in this film is amazing. I have been to many events at the Flynn and never have I heard such applause! It almost brought the house down! Strong and powerful. I will wear my T shirt to help spread your message. I hope everyone in the state of Vermont gets to see this film, if not I hope enough T shirts get sold and worn so that everyone asks what is that all about, and the message gets out.

    Thank you again Bess, cast, crew and staff, and GOD BLESS

  • Sara A Maginn

    This movie was by far better than I even expected it to be. It carries a very important message to our kids and parents, teachers, law enforcement etc. etc. A full house of 450 at the BFA showing and 1400 at the Flynn showing. I hope the numbers remain high in all the surrounding towns of VT. The next important piece to this puzzle is to attend your local community forums and have a voice in these conversations so we as communities can come together as a state and try to make things different so we can alleviate some of the pain that comes from the serious drug addictions in our state.. HAVE A VOICE….

  • Riki

    This film was incredibly educational. While I had knowledge of prescription drug abuse, I didn’t realize the depth and breadth of the issue. It was truly an eye opener. This film tells the story of real people and the effect that this type of drug abuse has on all levels of society. It is far reaching. The day after I attended the premier at the Flynn, I read in the paper of a road rage accident where at least one of those involved had been abusing prescription drugs. There were many important messages in the movie that can help show us the way out of this horrible scurge. Thank you.

  • Les Allen

    Please pray for us we just lost a brother and good friend to this sickness.

    Those who are still using and suffering please seek help. Don’t make the same mistake for the love ones you leave behind hurt more and left with this this pain forever

    We pray for you. You are loved

  • Raina

    Many of us know someone whose life has been profoundly impacted by alcoholism or drug addiction. Some of us have come face to face with it ourselves and are intimately familiar with the reality of what it means to live with this illness. When alcoholism and addiction come into our lives, in whatever capacity, everything changes. Everything.

    Addiction does not discriminate. It is not a sign of weakness. It is not representation of a person’s character and it is not a representation of choice. Addiction is powerful beyond all reason. It is manipulative and deceptive and terrifying. It systematically destroys all that is good and innocent and pure and in its wake we find soul crushing desperation, profound mistrust and fear.

    And then there is the shame….

    Shame is born of ignorance. It is born of a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of what addiction is, how and why it develops and what happens to a person (and their brain) when it does. It is the shame that keeps us silent and it is our silence that allows this problem to grow and grow.

    Help us lift the veil of shame and break the silence that binds us. Opiate addiction has not only reached epidemic proportions across the country, it has taken a strong hold right here in Vermont. Few are receiving the treatment they need, while more and more Vermonters fall prey to this terrible disease. Men, women, young, old, educated or not, rich or poor, we are ALL at risk. Addiction is relentless and unforgiving and it is infiltrating our communities.

    The Hungry Heart is fighting back!

  • David Anderson

    I attended the screening in Bennington this past Sunday. I’m
    full of admiration for Dr. Holmes’ skill and compassion, and for the courage and
    determinations of his young patients.

    During the discussion after the screening, some people
    expressed concern that patients who receive treatment with Suboxone simply substitute
    one addiction for another. Fortunately, that’s not true.

    Doctors diagnose addiction when someone uses a drug
    compulsively and cannot stop, even though they see that it is causing them
    great harm. Other features of addiction include craving the drug, putting the
    drug before everything else in one’s life, taking more and more of the drug, and
    doing things that one wouldn’t otherwise do to get it.

    The drugs that the young people in the movie took illegally
    had all of those effects on them. Suboxone didn’t have any of those effects. Instead,
    it helped them to manage their lives, reestablish and maintain relationships
    with their families and, in some cases, get jobs.

    Suboxone is an opiate, but just because someone takes an
    opiate doesn’t mean they are addicted to it. If that were the case, everyone who
    is treated with morphine for chronic pain would be an addict, even if they always
    took the morphine just as their doctor instructed.

    Suboxone does cause physical dependence, so that patients
    who stop using it have to taper off to avoid getting sick. However, physical
    dependence doesn’t equate to addiction. Addiction is when a drug causes loss of
    control over one’s behavior.

    I think it’s important to say this because if people feel
    that Suboxone treatment is just another addiction, they may be discouraged from
    getting treated. Policy makers may be discouraged from authorizing the use of
    Suboxone. That would be too bad because, as Dr. Holmes’ and his patients
    demonstrate so clearly and inspirationally, Suboxone can help people overcome the
    terrible disease of addiction and reclaim their lives.

    There’s good information about addiction and its treatment here:

    Again, I feel grateful to have seen The Hungry Hear, and to have
    been introduced through it to Dr. Holmes and his patients.

  • Colleen Wright

    We as a community in Brandon were deeply impacted from the showing at Otter Valley UHS. None of us slept well that night, knowing that there were so many people hurting. We don’t know what to do, we are sure we won’t figure out an answer to the problem, but now we know we have to try. Thanks for opening our eyes.

  • Jess

    Great Film! It was very thought provoking, powerful, and certainly increased my level of knowledge and interest in learning much more about how this is affecting our communities and the lives of those who are involved.

    One thing about the accessibility of the film itself – It would have been great for the film to have subtitles. Not because there were times when speech was heard to hear, but to be inclusive of all abilities. Perhaps there were subtitles and I could not find them. If there were not, I kindly ask that they be provided for future screenings and on the dvds as an option, always.

    Thank you so much for this consideration and for making this film a reality. Thank you!

  • Tom

    (6/23/2014) Just saw this film at the Brookfield , VT Town Hall. POWERFULL! Our communities/cities/nation needs more “Freds”!