When I was growing up, America was this dreamland that everyone talked of in awe. The movies had convinced people in other countries that all the girls are beautiful there, all the people rich, all the cars fast … an idealization that we all bought as intended.
Years later I found myself attending high school in America, and realized that Americans, just like the people of any other country, have their own battles to fight and that not everyone fit the stereotypical image that Hollywood projects. There were stupid people, but also smart ones, beautiful and not very appealing, rich and poor, fat and thin, black and white…
Yet many people still hold this ideal of perfection and, for those people, the 2014 documentary film Rich Hill, directed by Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos, can be a real eye opener.
I found out about it from Jones, a visitor to theskykid website, who pitched it as: “A slow rolling doc about 3 boys growing up poor in rural America. Unfiltered and tough to watch at times, it blazingly shows the hard knocks of modern life…”.
The protagonists of the documentary are not just the boys, but also their families. And, whereas many of the scenes have a rather depressing feel to them, one can clearly distinguish the struggle for dignity and survival. Of course the viewer can recognize a lot of their failures too, as it’s often easier to judge others than to take a deeper look at what has happened and what can be done to improve the situation.
Rich Hills Official Trailer
Jonas (apparently an American citizen himself) as he was telling me about the film, went on to say, “We are not a monolithic people and this peek into another reality is important to see and share in order to more fully understand the fabric of American life.”
Rich Hill (sarcasm in the title indeed) achieves its goal, but unfortunately also shows that the real victims of social and family unrest are the most innocent ones- the kids.