Half Way provides a moving insight into the life of a family negotiating the temporary housing system, and encourages its audience to re-evaluate preconceived notions of the homeless.
Directed and filmed by Daisy-May Hudson, the film documents her family’s life following sudden eviction from their home. Since their rent was very reasonable and consistent over the years, mother Beverley now finds herself priced out of the housing market, and despite being in full-time employment she has no choice but to register the family as homeless. With a focus on how her mother and younger sister Bronte handle their frightening new reality, Hudson wields the camera through their distressing experience of living in places that no one could call home.
What is most crucial about this brave telling of the family’s story is how similar they are to you and me. Bronte goes on school trips with her friends; the family have souvenir key rings from a trip to Alton Towers; the girls do their nails; they have their old childhood toys in storage. This poverty is not a million miles away: it’s not sleeping on the street, it’s living in cramped quarters at the mercy of council emails and the devastating feeling of being abandoned by a flawed system. It becomes the little things that are important: having a table, a space to sleep alone, and even a functioning bathroom light.
At times infuriating to watch as the family face appeals and a court appearance in their quest for a home, the film also offers moments of great joy when the young sisters spend time laughing together and sharing each other’s successes. The opening images of Bronte and her mother beaming at the camera on Daisy-May’s graduation day are all the more touching when you have lived a mere 90 minutes of their story, and you will leave the screen with a new perspective on the lives of others you know. This situation could happen to anyone, the documentary stresses – even the well-dressed woman taking photos with her daughter in her cap and gown.
Half Way is an important watch: an emotional experience of courage and perseverance, and a lesson in cherishing what you have. It also speaks volumes about the power of filmmaking as a mechanism for coping, and is a must-see for any fans of documentary cinema.