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99 Homes

99 Homes (2014) depicts a fictionalized account of a white working-class family who is evicted from their Florida home. Following the housing crisis of 2008, the film engages with the fallout of the recession and the intimacy of those whose homes were foreclosed on as part of the crisis. This scene portrays single father Dennis (played by Andrew Garfield) who has lost his construction job, and Dennis’s mother (Laura Dern) who are forcefully evicted from their home by the local police and real estate operator Rick Carver (Michael Shannon). Dennis and his mother have two minutes to collect their belongings, and must watch as the entirely of their home is tossed and stored on the front lawn for the neighborhood to witness.

discussion

How are the characters being evicted portrayed? How do we get clues about their socio-economic class?

Who are the authority figures in this scene and how do they exercise their power? How are they portrayed in comparison to the evicted family?

This film was released following the economic recession of 2008. How does the film portray the American dream of owning a home?

Based on this film, what assumptions might we make about which groups are working class in America? Why does the film choose to tell the story of a white family? How do you think the economic recession may have impacted African-American families and families of color differently?