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Waging a Living
Waging a Living
Directors: Edward Rosenstein, Frances Reid, Pamela Harris, Roger Weisberg
Genres: Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 25min

Tender and eye-opening, WAGING A LIVING takes an unwavering look at America?s working poor--people who work hard and play by the rules but never seem to get ahead. Over three years, the film follows four hard-working indiv...  more »


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Movie Details

Directors: Edward Rosenstein, Frances Reid, Pamela Harris, Roger Weisberg
Creators: Brian Danitz, Fawn Yacker, Hilary Morgan, Jim Arnold, John Hazard, Mark Stoddard, Peter Nelson, Rick Butler, Slawomir Grunberg, Vicente Franco, Edward Rosenstein, Frances Reid, Pamela Harris, Roger Weisberg, Christopher White, Deborah Clancy
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Docurama
Studio: Docurama
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/26/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 25min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Working Poor
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 07/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Conservatives promote that mess about "Work hard and all your economic problems will disappear!" This documentary focuses on four individuals who are working poor. They put in an honest day's work and spend money on their families, but still have problems making ends meet. This work exemplified how low-income people "take two steps forward and one step back." It was a struggle to watch this as life seems so unfair for this group.

It spoke of how many families are headed toward poverty because non-custodial fathers are not paying child support. It showed how a salary raise can lead to chopped governmental benefits which leaves families in a worse net position. It showed how a lack of health insurance can eat away a family's money when they have to pay for medicine out of pocket. It showed how credit cards can swallow needy families up. There were no repo men here, and maybe there should have been. You can't not pay services and companies without them coming after you at some point.

The work never speaks the terms "the feminization of poverty" or "the infantilization of poverty." However, while the man who is interviewed seemed like he was surviving and could one day thrive, things just seemed to get worse and worse for the single mothers with children. I was able to watch the man's story with no problems, but hearing about the women with children was very distressing to me.

The work interviews individuals on the two coasts. The East Coast and California are expensive! I don't want to render invisible the plight of the rural poor. However, I wonder if these low-income people and their families would have faired better in the South or Midwest. The man interviewed had children in North Carolina. Maybe if he moved there and got an agricultural job or another blue-collar job, he wouldn't have suffered as much as he did in mucho-pricey San Francisco. There's also the issue of weight. Two of the interviewees were BIG. Stress can cause weight gain. Still, I wonder if unsympathetic viewers would assume that the two spend too much on unhealthy foods.

This work could be used as a cautionary tale for youth who want to drop out of school. One boss tells a worker, "If only you were a real nurse, you could make good money." I imagine that these four didn't have college educations. A college degree used to be special, but now it's practically becoming mandatory. Blue-collar jobs are drying up in the US, so young folk gotta try to get those degrees! They could learn from the good people showcased here.

If you liked books like "No Shame in My Game" or "Getting By on the Minimum," you will like this."
A movie to be watched by everyone
Asish Lamichhane | united states | 01/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"hard to believe but a truth. i couldnt first believe, america the world's superpower has such problems. i thought america still needs changes. changes in terms of living and waging; this is a great movie which aims to bring the change, and it should. so this movie is to be watched by everybody and be evaluated."
Very Interesting View
Reviewer | 01/06/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"What is a living wage? Trying to pull yourself up from under or finding yourself going under is what this video is about."