Rich Hill

(USA, 2014, 91 mins, DCP)
Classification: Unclassified, Membership Required


Rich Hill, Missouri (population 1393). O! the highway, next to the railroad track. Andrew, 14, works on his bike, talks dreams with his dad, practices dance moves with his twin sister. He’s just like a lot of American teenagers, except that his days are often also about survival. Harley, 15, lives with his grandma and eight other members of his extended family because his mom is in prison for attempted murder. Still, Harley is the "first guy in the room to crack a joke and make you laugh when you least expect it." Appachey, 12, dreams of becoming an art teacher in China and finds solace in skateboards — and, despite his smarts, has had to repeat the 6th grade, which doesn’t fix all the things that are broken in his life.

These boys can be tough — they know how to walk with a clenched-jaw stare, like they have nothing to lose. But when you get to know them up-close, you see their insight, their humor, and their determination to survive. And despite the isolation and brutality of their circumstances, their hope for a brighter future persists. They imagine that their hard work will be rewarded, and that, although there is no road map or role model, even they can live the American dream.

Reminiscent of a non-fiction film by Terrence Malick, Rich Hill draws on more than 400 hours of footage the filmmakers shot with the boys. The result is intimate, authentic and unexpectedly transcendent.

Winner: Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, Sundance Film Festival

"A truly moving and edifying film, Rich Hill is the type of media object that could and should be put in a time capsule for future generations."—Katie Walsh, The Playlist (Indiewire)

"Open-hearted ... deeply empathetic."—Peter Debruge, Variety

"Often heartbreaking."—Duane Byrge, Hollywood Reporter