Andrew Droz Palermo & Tracy Droz Tragos' Rich Hill is an intimate look at small-town America through the eyes of three teenagers Andrew, Harley, and Appachey. Rich Hill, Missouri is just a setting, one of many small towns in America's heartland that struggles with poverty and lack-of-opportunity, with the film's meticulous study of these three teenagers capturing the universal problems which plague these small towns. The film chronicles these three boys lives, giving us insight into their family units and personalities but how the film captures the between-the-lines emotions is what stands out. Almost un-beknowing to the boys themselves, much of their anger and angst stems from their feelings of isolation and instability in the family unit which makes adolescence a daily struggle. Andrew is a very important subject in this film because he is the only one of the three boys that has both parental figures in his life. He is the most even-keeled of the three, but even he can't escape the effect of the environment in which he lives. Rich Hill isn't a bleak film but it certainly is sad, capturing how tough it is for anyone raised in such an impoverished area to make something of themselves. The film does veer into sentimentality at times, but it never feels manipulative enough to distract. Beautifully photographed with a great sense of visual lyricism reminiscent of Terrence Malick and David Gordon Green's earlier work, Rich Hill is an intimate and engrossing portrait of small-town America.
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