Regret to Inform (1999)



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Regret to Inform superbly portrays the lasting devastation of the Vietnam War as seen through the eyes of women, both American and Vietnamese, who lost their husbands. This is the story of one woman's journey to Vietnam, twenty years after her husband was killed there, and the women she encounters who were affected by the war. Hoping to find some closure for her pain and loss, Barbara Sonneborn wants to see and feel the places where her husband spent his last days. By intercutting emotional testimonials from women on both sides of the war who share their suffering, she makes us understand how real this war remains. Through seeing many different women's perspectives, we recognize how their emotions contrasted: helplessness on the part of those in the United States versus inevitable participation by North and South Vietnamese women. A very powerful, yet quiet, film, Regret to Inform develops a yet-unseen perspective: that of those left behind. Focused on Vietnamese and American women, the film is filled with exceptional interviews which are revealing and poignant. Testimony to Sonneborn 's uncommon ability is the remarkable level of honesty and openness the women are willing to share on camera. The viewer is taken on an exceptionally well-crafted journey, which includes beautiful camerawork and a seamless mixture of new and archival footage. Deeply personal and vastly universal, Regret to Inform is an involving and moving lesson about the painful legacy of war.


Critic Reviews for Regret to Inform

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (4)

heartrending documentary examines toll exacted by Vietnam War on widows of soldiers on both sides.

Jun 8, 2009 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

really fine personal doc

Aug 14, 2002 | Rating: 4/5

This poignant document presents the stories of grieving American widows and the accounts of wives of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers.

Feb 14, 2002 | Full Review…

The significant downside to Regret To Inform is that it is essentially a propaganda piece.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Sonneborn's straightforward observations on Vietnam are at the heart of Regret to Inform's portrayal of the devastation of war as seen through the eyes of women

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Not an unqualified triumph...The achievement is in the statements garnered from the widows on both sides.

Jan 1, 2000

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