The Perfect Life takes a hard look at the challenges of growing up in America's inner cities. In 1992, filmmaker Sam Lee moved from England to teach second grade at a unique school in Harlem aimed at helping disadvantaged youth. Ten years later, she decided to revisit her former students, now seniors in high school, and find out what had become of their dreams, their families, and their lives. With candor and eloquence, each student discusses their personal challenges from living with no parental support, emotional issues, grinding poverty and lack of opportunities. The transition to adulthood is difficult and each must draw upon their own inner resources to make it in the world, some more successfully than others.
Grades: 7-13. Subject Areas: Education, Sociology, Urban Studies, Teens, Film.
Brutally honest and without adult commentary, the film exposes the stark lines that divide inner city life from the rest of America. Audiences are offered an exclusive lens through which to understand what it takes to succeed - or as one student says, "have a house, kids...the great American dream, the perfect life."