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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Political > Poverty > Violence > Government > Legacy (2005/Docurama/Tod Lending)

Legacy (2005/Docurama/Tod Lending)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Main Program: B



One of the biggest lies in the U.S. is that no one goes to bed hungry, while one of the all-time myths is that poor people like to be poor and it is all their fault.  Then there is the one that things got better in the 1980s by getting rid of social services and everything is just fine.  Of course, that is among the biggest propaganda and most inane (insane?) denial ever.  Tod Lending’s Legacy (2005) mows all those myths and lies down.


Focusing on The Collins Family, the story begins with the insane loss of a 13-year-old son who was extremely bright and if he had not been killed in another stupid, mindless shooting, would have made it.  The family’s horrific nightmare from that turns out to be the latest in a very long series of nightmares that shows how far out of reach The American Dream has really become.  That the richest nation in the world (of all time) allows this to continue is in itself unbelievable, but that things became worse in the 1980s is criminal.  As I watched the compelling 90 minutes, the family will not allow themselves to be victims, though some of the people who are being paid to help them are just collecting money and turning a deaf ear.  They live in terrible public housing to boot.


Covering five years, the narration is by daughter Nickcole who has been forced to grow up way too soon, an ugly phenomenon in this country.  This was extremely worthy of its Best Documentary Academy Award nomination and for those on the extreme Right (or other idiots and extremists) who talk about how it turned out by ignoring the path presented as if it were a “so what” situation, then they did not really watch or were not paying attention.  This is a story about potential triumph and is a rare exception, not the rule.


The 1.33 X 1 image is soft and shot on analog video on the scene all the time, but Lending makes every shot count as every scenes adds up to a larger truth even visually.  Therefore, the technical limits are not as problematic.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is not bad considering the demands of location recording and notice how good the non-interview audio is:  little echo, decent clarity, limited background noise considering.  Extras include the trailer for this and a few other Docurama releases, deleted scene/interview, text filmmaker bio, filmmaker interview and Collins Family update.  All in all, a very powerful work and an indictment of how the system has become much, much worse as irresponsible people in power just squeeze the helpless (if not hopeless) harder and harder out of spite.  Legacy is a must-see.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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