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What to know: A must-se film with real, raw insights into the lives of real people.
Recommended age 13-18
83 minutes
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ALL THE DIFFERENCE cover image Click to play video trailer
This is a must-see documentary which begins airing on PBS September 12, 2016. I know documentary - boring right? Wrong. The film is real, raw and an insight into the lives of real people. Best of all it, is about two super heroes named Robert and Krishaun. These two young men are actual people who we all can look up to and inspire to be like them. They cannot fly or shoot lasers out of their eyes. They have determination, courage, commitment and guts. We need role models to look up to and, through this film, we see the good, bad and how life-changing events are made possible if you have just a little help.

Every day on the news we hear bad things. People complain and talk about how sad it all is. Rarely do people think about ways to change it. Wes Moore and Joy Thomas Moore stepped up and, not only thought of a better way, but acted upon it. Emmy-winning filmmaker Tod Lending spent years filming two young men. That is what I call dedication. We watch how their lives go forward in time and live each moment with them. I was frighten, crying, laughing, hoping and cheering for them.

Gang violence is nothing new. We see it on the news, movies, theater and television shows. Painted signs all over remind us that it is real. They all have sad stories and reasons for their actions.

What if you took some of the reasons away? What if someone came to you and said, "I can change your life for the better and will hold your hand and guide you." Would you grab the hand and walk with them? Many of the gang members said "no" once they found out cameras would be watching them 24/7 for many years. Two of them took a leap of faith. This film is a story about this incredible adventure, against all odds, of two young men who said "yes, I want a better life. I want out of the gangs."

This film is very emotional. I was afraid that they would not make it. It is real life, real problems and real people. When things are hard, it is always easy to give up. There are many times when you worry that they will. The most shocking thing about this film is meeting the real live Robert Henderson III and Krishaun Curtis Branch - gang bangers. I was nervous. They are nothing like you see on television or in the movies. The two of them are sweet, kind, smart and likeable. Krishaun even has a new baby. Their major flaw is not liking the Denver Broncos, but I let them slide.

My favorite person in this documentary, besides our super hero, is Robert's grandmother. She has an incredible story of her own. She is a super hero who has lived a difficult life, but never stopped wanting the best for Robert. She has girl power plus.

With the right mentors, role models, opportunities and a helping hand, great things can happen. It is an inspirational story that I recommend for ages 11 through 18. I also think Robert and Krishaun can be great super heroes to younger kids. This film is not sugar-coated. The violence is implied and talked about. It's not shown, but still it would be too much for younger kids unless this is the life they are living. If you can watch it with your kids and guide them to understand the many messages in this film, it is an eye opening experience. We can all reach out a helping hand. I give this film 5 out of 5 Super Hero Stars.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.

see youth comments
Filmed over five and a half years, ALL THE DIFFERENCE (83 min.) weaves together the stories of two tough, yet promising young black men, Robert and Krishaun, as they navigate their lives through their high school senior year and all four years of college. They come from broken homes and low-income, high-risk communities in Chicago where barely 50% of young black men graduate from high school and of those that do graduate less than half go on to college and even fewer will graduate within 4 to 6 years. The film explores the factors in their lives (education, parents and grandparents, teachers, role models, personal drive and community support) that made all the difference in helping them be the first in their families to most likely escape poverty and secure a place in the middle class.
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