TIFF 2016 Review: “Half A Man” (2016) ★★★★★


A war, no matter what level, never brings any good to anyone. It hurts feelings, breaks hearts, claims countless lives. However, some still manage to return home, but not in the way they left before.

10-year-old Maria and her 12-year-old sister Lorena are extremely excited. Their father is coming back home from a war where his last three months were spent as a prisoner of war. They expect their father to get a double general rank. Showing off their friends about their happiness, while the other children are left to spend the rest of their lives without a father. But when the man returns home, they realize it’s just half of him, and the happiness they expected to gain fades in the air within seconds…

Maria, playing ball with her friends, says to a boy whose father loses his life, “being in the camp for three months is worse than being dead”. Those words are not that pleasant to hear coming out from a kid’s mouth, but the reality of hastiness of war is what that particular scene well describes. When both sisters came back home, they found their father sitting at the table, but with no legs. He is thin and broken. He is upset, and seems to not really be happy being alive. But when you find Lira, the girls’ mother breaking out in tears, you will see that sometimes, the end of the war brings more disappointment to one individual’s life than the war itself.

But the dilemma is, can a family find happiness when someone they cared about came back home completely disabled or only a half of him? The truth is, nobody wants to live in struggle for the rest of their lives. Lira also does not want that. But after seeing the destroyed dreams of high anticipation, I guess, with that, “HALF A MAN” brings another fact from real life, when happiness can quickly turn into disappointment, when it’s not life, but the size and shape and well being of a person is what for some matters most.


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