DVD Review: Lost In America

During the last few months of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the biggest thing we’ve been told to do is stay at home. This is a great piece of advice if you have a home. What if being stuck inside under the same roof as your parents isn’t a good option. Since 2013 director Rotimi Rainwater has been interviewing homeless teenagers across the country to get their stories as to why they left home and what they do to survive every day. He initially used his own experience of being homeless to make the dramatic film Sugar. But he realized he had to go beyond the artifice and record the lives of those dealing with this issue. Lost In America is his document of what’s going on.

Many of these kids left their homes for survival reasons. The first person we meet is Calub that shows off the space under a bridge where he sleeps. He speaks of how his father refuses to believe their related because he couldn’t possibly have a gay son. The dad had abused Calub and broke his own child’s ribs. There’s no going home for Calub. You can’t just say, “Why can’t Calub go home?” It’s more a case of what are the safe options for Calub. Singer Jewel recounts her time when she was having to use public restrooms to clean up while she lived in her car. Lost In America is reminiscent of Nancy Kalow’s Sadobabies: Runaways in San Francisco. Kalow’s film was made in 1988. Rainwater returns to San Francisco to see how things have changed in the city since the .com explosion has changed the landscape of the city. There are few abandoned buildings to squat inside as real estate prices soar. He meets a teen couple that roam the city together.

Bill O’Reilly gets to play the clueless guy with a clip where the disgraced multimillionaire declares there’s no issues with homelessness and hunger in America. Rainwater goes to Washington D.C. to discover that there’s a lot of elected officials who don’t seem to care about the crisis. Even the government isn’t sure how many homeless teenagers are roaming America with HUD only declaring 40,000 while other organizations claim it can be close to 2 million. Rainwater discovers that way too many people think that kids flee their homes because of troubles with drugs and alcohol. The director’s interviews give so many reasons why the teens had to leave home including being molested by a parent.

Lost In America gets deep into the lives of the kids so we can see what it takes to survive in various cities around the country. With all that’s going on with the Pandemic, this seems to be a topic that the media has no time to investigate. Rainwater gets teenagers on the streets to open up about their lives to create a poignant documentary.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks fine during the night shots as Rainwater talks with the teenagers. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo and Surround. The levels are fine no matter the location. The movie is subtitled.

Trailers for upcoming films include the excellent Butterfly Girl which we reviewed during the 2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Indican Pictures presents Lost In America. Directed by: Rotimi Rainwater. Starring: Jewel, Halle Berry, Rosario Dawson & Jon Bon Jovi. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 94 minutes. Released: June 9, 2020.

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