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This is a personal documentary about the homeless in New York City that raises a lot of important issues—including media perceptions of the homeless, middle-class mythology about them, and the legacy of Reagan-era cutbacks in social services—without pursuing any of them to the point of yielding a political position or agenda. Despite serious intentions, director Bill Brand's self-consciousness about his middle-class vantage point tends to get in the way of the material, often serving more as an apologetic disclaimer than as a basis for sustained analysis. Most of the homeless people interviewed are articulate and intelligent about their plight on a day-to-day level, but apart from some telling statistics and familiar generalities, the larger question of what produces homelessness—or what can be done to alleviate it—never coheres into a clear and urgent statement. Still, the film certainly has value as a preliminary discussion. Edited and cowritten by Joanna Kiernan, who also served as associate producer.

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