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Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County (2010)

A documentary that explores the world of children who reside in discounted motels within walking distance of Disneyland, living in limbo as their families struggle to survive in one of the ... See full summary »

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A documentary that explores the world of children who reside in discounted motels within walking distance of Disneyland, living in limbo as their families struggle to survive in one of the wealthiest regions of America. The parents of motel kids are often hard workers who don't earn enough to own or rent homes. As a result, they continue to live week-to-week in motels, hoping against hope for an opportunity that might allow them to move up in the O.C. Written by Home Box Office

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26 July 2010 (USA)  »

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Missed opportunity
23 August 2010 | by See all my reviews

I think there is a compelling story here to tell; unfortunately the filmmaker didn't find it. The documentary was disjointed and exploitative. There was no narrative and no cohesion; many kids were introduced for a few minutes and then never heard from again. And we didn't get a full storyline for any of them; many of the kids from the few featured families just mugged for the camera. I wanted to know more about the family backgrounds and about the situations the led to their motel residency.

While I understand why Pelosi selected Orange County, she never really contrasted the kids' experience with that of their more well off peers. Simply parading them past Disneyland and talking about how they had never been inside didn't provide any real insight.

Finally, I think the background research was lacking. The first woman's claim that you can't get a studio in Orange County for less than $1300 is flat out wrong. Maybe that's true in Irvine or Newport Beach, but definitely not in Orange, Anaheim, Santa Ana, and other cities in the area. I also would have liked to have learned about other organizations that are helping disadvantaged children in the area as well as charitable efforts of OC corporations - including the vilified Walt Disney Company.

This was a very disappointing film. The kids are cute and charming and their story deserves to be told by a more talented filmmaker.


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