From director Rotimi Rainwater, Lost in America is a gut-wrenching documentary that will (hopefully) urge you to do what you can to help the millions of people that are surviving homelessness across the USA. It was released on DVD and Digital today by Indican Pictures.
I was provided a screener of Lost in America for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.
Trigger Warning: This review mentions sexual assault.
Rainwater, who was also a survivor of homelessness, offers a highly emotional and engaging look at what the youth in the USA have to go through while living on the streets. I appreciated Rainwater covering such a topic from different angles. He interviewed a handful of homeless youths as well as politicians, celebrities, and more to paint a very clear picture – not enough is being done for some of the most vulnerable in every community.
According to what was shared, there are approximately 4 million homeless kids in the States and that’s horrible. Through this documentary, Rainwater showed that while the average person should consider helping those in need to offer some kind of a band-aid to the problem, the real change has to be made by politicians who continue to use homelessness as a political weapon.
One of the most heartbreaking things in the documentary dealt with how anti-LGBTQ+ politicians don’t accept bills that offer support to the homeless youth. Such politicians (and their supporters) would rather allow millions of kids to continue living in horrible conditions as long as it means that queer kids (40% of the homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+) don’t get the help they need.
Adults exhibiting anti-LGBTQ+ hate that involves queer kids being miserable or dying is just revolting at a whole different level. That’s why while media should be applauded for portraying queer characters that have arcs that don’t center on homophobia, it’s vital to know that the fight isn’t over. LGBTQ+ people still have a long way to go to ensure protection.
Lost in America shows footage that spans six years and involves following the lives of a handful of homeless young people (including queer kids). Due to Rainwater’s personal experience, I think he’s able to bring a very compassionate, yet somewhat dark, tone to this project. He filmed kids making the most of their unfortunate circumstances and being hopeful. But don’t be mistaken. You quickly realize that these kids are still facing an incredibly dangerous world.
These kids have experienced sexual assault by relatives, have gone through sex trafficking, been kicked out of their homes for being queer, and a lot more. It’s clear that no one dreams of becoming homeless. I was shocked when the documentary featured average people saying that kids live on the streets because of their own free will.
Rainwater was able to garner a lot of support from celebrities (many of whom have experienced homelessness or the broken foster care system). Halle Berry, Tiffany Haddish, Jon Bon Jovi, and Miley Cyrus are some of the celebrities that share their opinions about the current homeless epidemic in the USA.
Lost in America is an important and well-constructed documentary because the battle to end homelessness continues. Even showing just a bit of kindness to a homeless person you see while walking down the street plays a role in making the situation better.
You should visit the documentary’s official website to see the numerous ways you can help.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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