Americans are used to being told that they’re rich, and they are, but the reality of the matter is one that is hard to come to terms with considering the quality of life so many Americans are used to and the impending cost of living that continues to rise and is causing so many to be subject to poverty.
Poverty seems to be a bit subjective. When you compare an American in poverty to a person living on a mat in the third world, it’s easy to see how much the worlds differ and how much the American actually has by comparison. While the contrast certainly puts things into perspective, it’s best to realize that every situation is different and while one level of poverty may be less extreme, both are difficult situations to face.
What is an accurate portrayal of poverty for those who are accustomed to a life of material belongings? Film is great because it invites us to be a fly on the wall of worlds we’ve never experienced. In the case of film and poverty, here are the films that best portray the world of poverty for everyone to see:
India is a continent that holds over a billion people. Out of that billion people, over 850 million live in rural towns. Of that 850 million, over 220 million are living in a poverty that is unlike anything anyone in the western world can imagine. If that’s hard for you to picture, then you need to watch Slumdog Millionaire.
Slumdog Millionaire is a film that came out in 2008 and won 8 Oscars including the Oscar for best picture. The film very acutely portrays the reality of poverty in the slums of India where a young man is accused of cheating on the Indian version of the game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?
The crime, degradation, and harsh reality of a life lived in poverty is difficult to watch on screen, but you’ll have to watch to see if he won, and you’ll want to know the kinds of questions he is faced with in regard to growing up in a world where money is absent.
The Grapes Of Wrath
Originally a book written by John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath in an American story about a family of farmers who are driven from their land during The Great Depression due to drought, troubles with economy, and other factors. The movie was made in 1940 and while it didn’t win best picture, it did win best actress.
Every culture has to deal with poverty and hard times. If you’re ever in need of a wake up call to how much you really have, pick up one of these movies and watch the world of poverty unfold before your eyes. It’s touching and sad at the same time, but maybe you’ll be inspired to help be the change the world needs.