“American Winter”
2013 ‧ Drama/Documentary ‧ 1h 30m

Review by Michael Stadtlander

American Winter is an appropriate title for this HBO documentary focusing on the lives of eight families facing extremely poverty in the city of Portland OR. The film is aptly named for its overwhelming cold feel and sense of desperation. Unlike other films which showcase the lives of individuals currently homeless, this piece focuses on families on the verge of homelessness. Many of these people express a feeling of shame having never been up against such harsh odds before. The film is quite chilling and conveys a strong feeling of fear since many of these families feel relatable and make the viewer think about their own situation and what they might due faced with similar odds. After watching the film I couldn’t help but consider my own living situation and evaluate what I would do if I were to lose my job or have my car break down. This documentary carries much weight on it’s shoulders and will leave the viewer with a heavy heart. It is a well crafted piece and deserving of the award of “Best Documentary” it won at the Portland Film Festival in 2013.

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