A film that should be seen.
by Martin Hafer
Leftovers is a very important documentary and I encourage you to see it. This is because in western societies, particularly here in the United States, the elderly have somehow been consigned to a second-class status. It’s not necessarily intentional, but often the oldest folks are also the neediest and most neglected folks.
Leftovers talks about this … and how many seniors are going hungry for many, many reasons. It’s not simply because these folks didn’t plan for retirement but many do without because they are physically unable to get up and down stairs or cook for themselves. Many have a difficult time finding money for food because medication costs can be so high. And, some are caring for grandkids or are disabled and need assistance. Director Seth Hancock does a good thing with this documentary about exposing these many reasons as well as a few ways we can help meet this need. It’s a film we all should watch … even if it isn’t the most pleasant or exciting topic.
So do I have any complaints about this film…at least from a technical point of view? Yes. While the subject is very important, Hancock makes a big mistake that deflects away from the plight of the elderly. Often, he makes the film about himself. At the beginning, the camera is on him and he talks about the journey he took learning about the hungry elderly.
Then, at about the 70 minute mark, he uses the word ‘I’ again and again and again as he talks about himself and how he perceives the plight of the hungry seniors. This is a huge mistake because it makes the movie about him and not the folks who need our help. Fortunately, it’s a forgivable mistake … as the rest of the film is so compelling and pushes you to act … signs of a good documentary.
It’s also very forgivable because it’s Seth Hancock’s first film…and a very impressive freshman effort despite this one quibble. I hope to see more from him…and hope he learns that by putting his subjects first and foremost he’ll have a more effective and hard-hitting picture.
Martin's Grade: B+