One of the best films to ever be made about the stigma of homelessness, Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly’s transcendent, thoroughly objective, look at three Chicago teens forced to grow up too fast is heartbreaking and inspiring in equal measure without manipulation of the audience. It belongs to be talked about the same breath as Steve James’ similar style of work on Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters.
Anthony is a bit of a street poet who was bounced between foster homes and has a child of his own currently living in the same system in Indiana. He wants to clean up, talk right, and get a good job to get his son back. Kasey is a lesbian with a disdainful mother and grandmother trying desperately to stay motivated. Roque has been a shell shocked young man whose problems with immigration and crippling loneliness have led him to stay with a kindly teacher. It’s their senior year of high school, which means the next year will more or less define the rest of their lives in many ways.
Pulling back to show the epidemic of teen homelessness in Chicago while staying close to the main trio of characters, there’s just enough context given to explain the Catch-22 of being young and on the streets. All three subjects are bright, magnetic personalities worthy of the deepest empathy. It’s one of the few films that can adequately display how hard it is to stay positive while being utterly disgusted by one’s circumstances. It’s nuanced, thoughtful, impeccably detailed, and perfect in every possible way.
Saturday, April 26th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, 3:00pm (RUSH ONLY)
Monday, April 28th, ROM, 3:30pm
Sunday, May 4th, Scotiabank 3, 7:00pm