PBS, Jan. 9-11, check local listings
Documentarian David Sutherland ("The Farmer's Wife") went looking for the effects of poverty in America. He zeros in on two bright Appalachian boys, following their progress at a special school for at-risk teens over three years. Chris Johnson is trailer-park poor and his family is dysfunctional. Classmate Cody Perkins was orphaned after his parents died violently but friends and relatives have created a family for him. As the boys narrate their stories, what comes across is that one of them will succeed in life. The other may not. It's apparent that a loving, disciplined family can build confidence and kindness in those whom society might otherwise neglect.