Rich Hill is everything you don’t expect it to be. It’s a documentary about three struggling, lower-class boys from Rich Hill, Mo., but it forgoes the typical gritty documentary look in favor of a sort of meditative poetry. Directors Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos reach a remarkable level of intimacy with the kids and their families. One scene in particular contains heartbreaking revelations about one of the subjects as he casually talks while walking down the street on Halloween. The movie doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to hard, cold reality, yet it also takes the time to live life with the boys on their own terms—to spend time with them as they try to smash ice puddles or light fireworks. The families depicted aren’t presented merely as anecdotes of how bad life can be. They’re living, breathing people, each of whom has had a string of bad luck starting at a very young age. That Rich Hill lets us truly know them is one of the great achievements of Sundance 2014.
Directors: Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos
Writers: Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos
Production Details: 91 minutes