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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Hidden in America
Directed by Martin Bell
Evergreen Entertainment 01/96 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG-13 - disturbing plot material
Every night in America, over five million children go to bed hungry. In Hidden in America, Beau Bridges plays Bill Januson, a man who has been dealt two devastating blows. First, he lost his 17-year job on an assembly line in Michigan and then, his wife died of cancer. Now Bill is trying to support his two children with a part-time job at a hamburger place. Willa (Jena Malone) is always sick, and Robbie (Shelton Dane) is secretly skipping school so he can collect cans to raise some money. A doctor (Bruce Davison), the father of Willa's best friend, takes an interest in Bill and struggles to find a way to help him out financially. But Bill's fierce pride keeps him from accepting any assistance.
Martin Bell directs this harrowing drama with just the right touch. The Emmy Award-winning screenplay by Peter Silverman and Michael De Guzman offers a thoughtful and sensitive portrait of both the perils of poverty and the difficult dynamics of compassion. As one character points out, in today's society, shame not only brutalizes the indigent but also beats up those who want to do good. Hidden in America is a touching drama about some very troubling ethical issues.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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