Which Way Home

Which Way Home was a documentary that Sara and I recently watched on HBO. The documentary tackles an issue that has gotten more than a little bit of press in the last few years – especially in the 2004 election – which is illegal immigration. Which Way Home follows a group of kids between the ages of 9-17 who have a dream of moving to America and making some money in order to better the lives for themselves and for their families.

This is one of those movies that you watch. Take a deep breath. Come to a realization that you aren’t as smart as you think you are.

The problem isn’t black and white as many people seem to make it out to be. There is a reason that these kids/adults/families are trying to come to the United States. Life in Mexico or other Central American countries (Honduras was featured prominently) isn’t like the life you and I are used to. If I reflect on my own life, I realize that many times I have a bad day, it can be set off by a series of extremely minute (in the big picture) things. I forgot to plug in my Blackberry, so I won’t be able to listen to my collection of podcasts while mowing the lawn. My dog(s) chewed up one of my favorite pair of socks. I can’t seem to get a wireless internet connection in my upstairs. It’s raining. It’s snowing. I didn’t get a chance to have my morning coffee or latte. I got called into work at night. One of my favorite tv shows didn’t record. One of my favorite cd’s is starting to skip. My Xbox has the red ring of death. One of my in-ground sprinklers isn’t spreading water evenly. I can’t pass Blink-182 on drums on hard on Guitar Hero World Tour. I hopped on the treadmill and felt fat, slow, and out of shape. All of those things that seem to bother us to no end seem pretty insignificant when I watch a movie like this.

Which Way Home focuses on four kids who are trying to take a train from Honduras to northern Mexico where they plan to cross the border in the desert. The oldest child was 17. His parents were dead, he was addicted to drugs, and he was trying to straighten his life out. The youngest of this group was 13. He didn’t even tell his mother he was leaving… he just left a note. His father was either dead or had left the family (sorry, can’t remember) and he didn’t want to see his mother living like she was.

The actual travel on the train was impossibly difficult for us to imagine. They constantly had to be watching for trees and bridges. There was always a worry that you’d fall asleep and fall off the top of the train and be run over by the train. In one scene, a young mother is shown who fell off the train and loss both of her legs above the kneecap. In another scene, two people weren’t paying attention and were killed when they hit a bridge as they were standing on top of the train. Luckily for you the viewer, you don’t actual witness any of these two horrific events. You don’t have to, though.

I highly recommend this to everyone if you get a chance to watch it. If you get HBO Zone (I don’t think I do), it’s on 10/9 at 2:20 PM, 10/13 at 8:45 AM, and 10/19 at 3:35 PM (all times central). Otherwise, be on the lookout for it. Only 54 people had voted as of this righting, but imdb.com has it ranked as a 9.0 out of 10, so I’m not alone in enjoying this. Check it out… let me know what you think.