In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize a terminally ill person's request to end his or her life with medication. At the time, only Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had ... See full summary »
Pointing out the importance of maintaining a playful spirit, which we all have when we are kids and society forces us to abandon in our adult lives, Drops of Joy is a documentary that speaks widely about the idea that playing is something very serious and urgent.
As though life is imitating art, actor and sex-symbol, Andy Whitfield, had just become a star as the lead in the hit television series,'Spartacus,' when he is faced with his biggest ... See full summary »
People think that we are poor around here, but for the definition of poor is no roofs, no lights, no water, no food. We have lights, we have water, we have a roof, we have food, we have money.
We are not poor.
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My wife and I both enjoyed this documentary, and we each felt pretty low after watching it. It was really well done, but it left a sour taste for sure, like biting into your first unripened persimmon. I both agree and disagree with the reviewer from Michigan. I think the point about this documentary not having a story arc is valid. There really is no growth in anyone in the film; they leave the film as they entered it, some pathetic and lazy, some disturbed, some ever-hopeful. But I think as a documentary, the film is entitled to do that. Perhaps that was the filmmakers' objective: Life in rural, poverty-stricken Missouri is like an unripe persimmon. Here's your bite. It sucks, and the unpleasant after-effects of that experience will linger for a long time. I also agree that this leaves me wanting more. I'd love a Ken Burns' style mega-doc that explores the how and the why of that slice of life. Poverty is certainly a spoke on that wheel - perhaps even the hub- but it's far from the only reason we felt so often disturbed by what we saw on the screen. Which leads me to my major disagreement with Michigan's review, which to me was a belief that there weren't many kids/families that could be that disturbed, lazy, dysfunctional, etc., or that the film presented that dynamic in an incorrect proportion to the reality. I spent twenty-plus years as a family therapist in a treatment center for severely emotionally disturbed kids and their families from rural and urban areas. They exist. Families and kids fall apart for multiple reasons. The families in this film had few options to help them deal with the ever- increasing severity of their problems. Poor people love their kids as much as rich people do; they just have far fewer ways to access help when things start falling apart. The juvenile justice system should be the last resort. There's no resources in these impoverished areas to help the more severe cases. But what I was really left with after watching this film was this: I know another reviewer requested this not be compared to Ferguson. I really want the comparison. When you look at the underlying dynamics of a community like Rich Hill versus an inner city neighborhood, there are many similarities: poverty level; educational opportunities through public education; strong family ties; mental illness; medical issues; unemployment and lack of available jobs. How are the impoverished citizens of Rich Hill exploited any less than any impoverished inner-city resident? Are their reactions to their situations different? If so, why? I'd love to see a filmmaker explore that.
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