RICH HILL

Directed by Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos

Thesis

The documentary Rich Hill, directed by Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos did a good job at showing the reality and effects of poverty on three teenage boys using the reactions of and the everyday lives of the different teens and their families.

The Purpose of The Film

The purpose of the film is to show the effects of poverty on three very different teenage boys. The movie shows the boys and their family at their best and worst moments, giving slight insight as to how the boys ended up in their situation. The goal was to show that while poverty is the same for everyone, different people react to their situations differently than others.

Kid's Reactions

Each kid reacts different to their impoverished lives. Appachey West, the youngest of the three boys is the most angry. While it is told that he has many mental illnesses, it is obvious that he has pent up anger towards his father, who left when Appachey was six and is presumably the reason the West family lives in poverty. Andrew Jewell is the most positive of the boys. His father's only income is numerous odd jobs, a choice that Andrew does not agree with but supports. His belief is that God is busy with other families, and that his situation will improve when God has time. The oldest boy, Harley Hood is very considerate of his situation but is plagued with anger issues. In an early movie scene, he asks his grandma his buy him a Monster energy drink from the store, explaining that they are on food stamps. He tells her that it is OK if she can't get them but continuously asks for the drink. This choice of showing three very different boys displays how poverty can effect everyone differently depending of the circumstances of their situation.

The Family Life

The movie follows the three boys around very closely, giving insight to their home lives. Andrew's family is continuously packed up and moved because of their dad's choice to support them on odd jobs. Due to his mothers illness, she believes that she will feel better as soon as they get out of Rich Hill, only to quickly move back in with relatives in Rich Hill. After Harley was sexually abused by his step-father, his mother attempted to kill the step-father. This landed her in jail and causing Harley to live with his grandma who does not have the money to fully support them. As stated before, Appachey's father left when he was six, leaving him with a single mother and numerous siblings. The situation has put an obvious strain on Appachey's mother, throwing their house is to a constant hectic feeling. Giving this personal view into the boys households show hows poverty can either bring a family apart or bring them together.

The Town

Throughout the movie, a carnival scene is showed. During the carnival, an auction for pies is showed. The money being given during the scene are in extremely high amounts. In the following scene they show Andrew at a fireworks tent asking what he can buy for 15 cents. These two scenes show the contrast between the rest of the town and the lives of Andrew, Appachey, and Harley. The use of these two contrasting scenes, presents the dark reality of those who are living impoverished lives in well off towns.

Conclusion

Overall, the film really touched me. Often times, we forget that those less fortunate than us are still humans with feelings just like anyone else. Although the movie seemed choppy and a bit out of place at some points, it really opened my eyes to the struggles and effects poverty has on teens just like me.