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Parents' Guide to

Lost in America

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Compassionate, eye-opening docu about unhoused youths.

Movie NR 2020 95 minutes
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Rainwater's compassionate, fearless documentary is focused on finding ways to humanize the issue of being unhoused and give it urgency. Lost in America benefits greatly from having Rainwater at the helm and on camera, using not only his real-life experiences, but also his intrepid persistence to find the facts -- and the emotions -- he's looking for. He seems to really care, and yet he avoids self-congratulations. It's telling that this documentary's origin dates to when Rainwater arranged to screen his previous movie, Sugar, a dramatic feature about being unhoused, for Congress ... and no one showed up.

Rainwater assembles an impressive list of interviewees for Lost in America. In addition to Senator Leahy, he talks to recording artists Jewel, Miley Cyrus, and Jon Bon Jovi, and actors Rosario Dawson, Halle Berry, Tiffany Haddish, Sanaa Lathan, and Rebecca Gayheart -- all of whom either have struggled with a lack of housing themselves or are involved in trying to help. Rainwater also interviews many currently unhoused youths, like Conner and Makayla in San Francisco, who share a tragic story and its cruel aftermath, and Calub in Denver, who was thrown out for identifying as trans. In addition to facing head on the weightier problems that surround being unhoused, Lost in America also leaves us with a simple message. If you see an unhoused person, say hello. It will mean more than you can imagine.

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