Opening night at the James River Film Fest featured "Body of War," a documentary about 25-year old Tomas Young, who was paralyzed from the chest down when he was shot by a sniper on his 5th day serving in Iraq, The film, directed by Richmonder Ellen Spiro, is an unsparing look at how this young man dealt with his disability, lack of rehabilitation and emerging anti-war feelings.
There were moments in the film that were excruciating to watch (his mom inserting a catheter on a road trip to say goodbye to his younger brother before he, too, is deployed), an anti-war march with hundreds of Gold Star Families carrying pictures of their lost sons and daughters (many wanting just to touch Tomas because he made it back and their child didn't) and Tomas having to take breaks while speaking because the pain overcomes him.
This film got made because Phil Donahue met Tomas, felt that his story had to be told and provided the funding to allow Spiro to shoot for nearly three years. Much changes in Tomas' life over that period and the audience is privy to a great deal of it.
It's hard to imagine a more powerful testament to one man's courage as he makes the journey from soldier to anti-war activist than this documentary. Occasional tears aside, it's the kind of film every American needs to see to be reminded of the human cost of an arrogant President's decision.