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Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son
Photograph: Dartmouth Films

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Britain’s homeless people come into the spotlight in a campaigning doc that humanises, galvanises and informs

As the title indicates, Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s a passionate documentary that asks whether we see our homeless population as worthy of equal rights – and whether we even see them in the first place.

‘When we think of homeless people, we think of them as “other”, “them”, “not us”. It could never happen to us, could it?,’ says the narrator over a scratchy home video of a little girl’s birthday party in 1989. Moments later we learn that the little girl ran away from home at the age of 14. 

What the little girl went through before she became the filmmaker, Lorna Tucker, sets the vulnerable tone of a documentary that draws its soul from the stories of former and current homeless people in the UK. Darren, Emma and Laura in London. Jamie in Edinburgh. Earl in South Shields. 

Without pushing an angle too hard, Tucker shows a pattern of young people fleeing domestic violence and families riven with substance abuse. By giving space to her interviewees, she deepens our superficial understanding of the problems and solutions involved.

Emma and Laura in London say that they feel safer sleeping on the streets than in a hostel, even though there are a dangerous couple of nocturnal hours between partygoers going home and day workers heading out. 

As the title hints, this passionate doc wears its heart on its sleeve

A distinction is made between the policy of rushing people into temporary housing to cosmetically reduce homeless numbers, and genuine attempts to tackle the demons that drive someone to the streets in the first place. 

‘The Big Issue’ founder, John Bird, looms large within the film, and his compassion is infectious. ‘The problem isn’t homelessness, it’s all this shit that went on before,’ he says. Bird would know. He grew up in poverty and was homeless at the age of five. He sees his sisters and brothers in arms now as ‘largely terrified children, mortified by growing up in incredible circumstances’.

Rather than taking aim at the ongoing scandal around affordable housing – or the lack of it – Tucker shows us the collateral damage in human terms, while also flagging the positive initiatives that are out there, like national homelessness charity Housing First.

The final reel has Tucker speaking to a dizzying range of experts about the benefits of tackling the causes of homelessness. But while the infodump proves overwhelming, her personal entrypoint to the subject, and the stories she draws out of her collaborators makes Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son an irresistibly tender call-to-action.

In UK cinemas Feb 16.

Written by
Sophie Monks Kaufman

Cast and crew

  • Director:Lorna Tucker
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