By Matt Horn
“We’re not trash, we’re good people.” In American society people are judged on intelligence, appearance, and socioeconomic status. But as thirteen year old Andrew will tell you, these judgments and labels are so often inaccurate.
Enter Rich Hill, Missouri: population 1,393. Andrew indicates in the opening quote of the Sundance film, many outsiders would label him and his friends as “white trash.” Andrew is one of three adolescent boys who the film follows for a few weeks during the school year.
The other two, fifteen year old Harley and twelve year old Appachey are not as optimistic. After Harley’s mother went to prison, he was sent to live with his grandmother, who explains that her grandson has not been the same since his mother was incarcerated. When he was younger, Harley was raped by his stepfather. Because of this traumatic experience he frequently has anger outbursts, and struggles to complete full days at school. He even says in the film: “I’m not happy. I’m a demented little kid.”
Elsewhere in Rich Hill lives Appachey who is diagnosed with ADHD, OCD and Asperger’s Syndrome. After being kicked out of school for punching another student in the face, Appachey is forced to go to a detention center to finish school. His mother, Delena, loves him but shows little sympathy for her oldest son.
“I love him with all my heart but I need a break,” she said.
Back to Andrew, the optimist of the group with strong family values. His mother’s medication keeps her bedridden for most of the day while his father’s lack of a steady job has forced them to move around Missouri nearly a dozen times. It is later revealed that Andrew’s family is crammed into a relative’s house where Andrew sleeps in an unfinished basement. He and his family are by far the worst off of the three, but this does not deter Andrew’s goals and aspirations to .
In an inspiring, tear-jerking, thought provoking documentary, Rich Hill forces the audience think twice about how they look at other people and to look beyond stereotypes.