Does anyone genuinely have an answer to America’s homeless problem? Politicians always seem to have a platform to campaign on while doing nothing practical while the situation grows worsens every year. The reasons for living on the street are varied, and each homeless person’s story is unique to them. Jessy Cale Williamson’s Broken Down is the story of one such person.
Our homeless man is Harold (Sam Cobean). For the past five months, he has lived in a broken-down car and refuses to leave, even to relieve himself thanks to a sturdy piss jar… don’t ask about the other thing. On this particular morning, a police officer wanders by. Before any trouble begins, Miss Rita (Lisha Wheeler) intercepts the officer and assures him that she’s taking care of Harold. The officer warns her that Harold has two weeks to move the car, or it will be removed for him. Occasionally visiting Harold is his brother and sister (Matt Story and Lorna Street Dopson), who have all but given up on him as he cowers after every attempt to coax him out of the car.
“…he has lived in a broken-down car and refuses to leave, even to relieve himself thanks to a sturdy piss jar…”
One morning, a young boy, Jacob (Aiden Hartman), who lives in the house across from his car, introduces himself to Harold. After a few days of tense confrontation, the two warm-up to one another, and they become fast friends. Jacob sneaks out once in a while to bring Harold food, blankets, and attempts to help Harold find warmth from an old bar-b-que grill. Jacob also has his own set of problems as his mother, Jenny (Becki Hayes), is trying to end an abusive relationship with her new husband.
Broken Down is a simple movie in that it takes place in a broken-down car, and its lead character never leaves. It’s a simple setting, but an elaborate and well-told story about the problem of homelessness, and all to say, there are no fast or straightforward solutions.
"…we feel frustrated when every attempt by friends and family to help him is rebuffed."