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A Man Made Early cover image

A Man Made Early 2011


Distributed by Scenarios USA, 80 Hanson Place, Suite 305, Brooklyn, NY 11217; 718-230-5125
Produced by Megan Gilbride
Directed by Cruz Angeles
DVD, color, 16 min.

Jr. High - General Adult
Adolescents, Social Issues, Parenting, Education

Date Entered: 06/27/2011

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

Scenarios USA uses filmmaking to advance youth leadership, advocacy and self-expression in under-served teens. Scenarios USA asks teens to write about the issues that shape their lives for the annual "What's the REAL DEAL?" writing contest. The winning writers are united with some of Hollywood's finest filmmakers to convert their stories into award-winning short films.

In A Man Made Early, high school senior Tony Rodriguez, has to decide whether or not he should go to a college close to home where he can help out his mother, a single parent with his younger sister, or accept a scholarship from a university out of state. It becomes clear that Tony’s mother is overworked, overscheduled and overextended. This means that she never has enough time to do everything. As a result, she relies heavily on Tony to help around the house, pick up his sister from school and make sure she eats. His mother has no partner to share all the responsibilities with or to comfort them when things go wrong. On top of this, she is concerned about whether there will be enough money to pay the bills, and whether she is a good parent. Being in a home with only one parent does create several risk factors for any adolescent—in other words, it puts them at a greater risk for having certain problems or engaging in certain behaviors. The biggest risk factor associated with single-parent homes is economic status. The fact that Tony is graduating is a testament of accomplishment for both him, his younger sister and his mother. As Tony takes on responsibilities around the house, it is clear that Tony has a better understanding of adults than many of his peers, and that he and his sister have a strong relationship with their mother. Another positive outcome from living in a single-parent family is that Tony, despite his dilemma about deciding where to go to college, does feel more valued by his mother. It would be wonderful if all adolescents like Tony who come from single-parent homes came away from their situations relatively unscathed and in possession of positive influences. However, that is not always the case; many become poor students, drop out of school completely, and become involved in substance abuse and other illegal activities. In A Man Made Early the potential for success is real and within Tony’s grasp. We have no choice but to root for his success.