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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Storied Streets is a documentary about homelessness from 2014, originally titled These Storied Streets. It inspires compassion and empathy for the homeless by showing them as people just like anybody else, and how easily and unexpectedly anyone can lose their home. It also examines what kind of society we are, asks what kind we'd like to be, and offers a different approach to solving the problem. Interview subjects talk about violence they have witnessed and experienced, like being beaten and urinated on, and video clips show teens doing just that, and more. Profanity is rare but includes a couple each of "f---ing" and "s--t." Positive role models are people who were homeless and now work to help others, and hardworking people with full-time jobs who still can't afford housing. Many people interviewed smoke, and there's a lot of background smoking, too. The movie emphasizes that substance abusers are a minority in the homeless population, but there's a trio of interview subjects who talk frankly about their drug addiction.
What's the story?
Young filmmaker Jack Henry Robbins takes his camera through the STORIED STREETS of America to examine the problem of homelessness across the country. By dispelling myths about what kind of people are homeless, how these people came to be homeless, and how they can or cannot get off the streets and into housing, Robbins' film hopes to change the way we look at the people who are homeless, the way we treat them, and what we can do to, if not end the problem altogether, at least reduce their numbers by as much as two-thirds.
Is it any good?
Director Jack Robbins takes a steady, unemotional approach behind the camera to create a powerful argument for changing the way we treat homeless people and how we solve the problem of homelessness. Storied Streets balances interviews with advocates, some of them formerly homeless themselves, with the personal stories and circumstances of a wide range of people living on the streets or in shelters at the time (2014). The emphasis is on destroying stereotypes about homeless people, showing that the majority are regular people fallen on hard times.
Viewers will empathize with the many moving, sometimes horrific, stories of hardship and humiliation endured by the homeless, and at the very least be inspired to treat others better than with hostility or indifference. The movie also makes a strong case for changing the way we solve the problem, by putting our resources into helping those who are recently homeless instead those with the greatest need and who've been without homes the longest. But other than pointing out that our current solutions aren't working, the film doesn't explore any other options. Teens ready to take an unblinking look at the problem in our country and how we as a society handle it, or don't, can be encouraged to explore the issue further and find ways they can help.
Talk to your kids about ...
Did you learn anything you didn't already know about being homeless? Did anything surprise you? Did your thoughts, feelings, or opinions change after seeing this movie?
Does the movie inspire you to do something about homelessness? What kinds of things can you do, or where can you look for more information?
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