The House I Live In

Watch The House I Live In

"The war on drugs has never been about drugs."
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 1 hr 48 min
  • 7.9  (5,389)
  • 77

The House I Live In, released in 2012 and directed by Eugene Jarecki, is a documentary about the war on drugs in the United States. The film aims to expose the systematic problems within the American legal and penal system, which disproportionately affect certain communities, particularly people of color. Jarecki begins the movie by discussing his personal connection to the issue, as his family has a history of alcoholism and drug addiction. Quickly, the narrative shifts into a broader examination of the drug war's history in the US, tracing it back to Nixon's presidency in the 1970s. The House I Live In argues that the drug war has been costly and ineffective, as it has led to the overincarceration of nonviolent drug offenders and failed to address underlying issues of poverty and systemic injustice.

Throughout the film, Jarecki intersperses interviews with individuals who have been affected by drug-related crimes, including inmates, police officers, judges, and drug treatment experts. One of the most poignant interviews comes from Nannie Jeter, an African American woman who lost her son to drug addiction in the 1980s. Jeter speaks about her son's struggle with addiction, and how he ultimately succumbed to a combination of poverty and systemic racism.

Another central figure in the film is David Simon, creator of the television series The Wire, which is largely based on his experiences as a crime reporter in Baltimore. Simon argues that the drug war has become a self-perpetuating cycle, as law enforcement agencies receive federal funding based on the number of drug-related arrests they make. The House I Live In suggests that this has led to a focus on low-level drug offenders rather than major drug traffickers, as it is easier to make arrests and secure convictions for minor drug offenses.

Shanequa Benitez, a former drug dealer, is another interviewee who provides a unique perspective on the issue. Benitez speaks frankly about her experiences in the drug trade, explaining that she got involved because it was the only way she could support her family. She also discusses the harsh penalties she faced when she was arrested, which included mandatory minimum sentences and a lack of access to adequate legal representation.

The House I Live In also delves into the racial disparity present in the drug war, which has resulted in a disproportionate number of black Americans being targeted for drug offenses. Jarecki examines how these policies have created a racially biased system in which black individuals are more likely to be arrested, convicted, and sentenced to longer prison terms than white individuals who commit the same offenses.

Throughout the film, Jarecki uses archival footage and statistics to support his arguments. For example, the film cites a statistic that black Americans make up only 13% of drug users but are 90% of those incarcerated for drug offenses. Jarecki also highlights the economic toll of the drug war, which has cost the US over one trillion dollars in the past four decades.

Overall, The House I Live In is a powerful documentary that provides a thorough examination of the drug war's impact on American society. The film argues that the drug war has become a war on poor people and people of color, and that it has failed to address the underlying issues that lead to drug abuse in the first place. Instead, the drug war has perpetuated a cycle of poverty, addiction, and incarceration, which disproportionately affects certain communities. The House I Live In challenges viewers to consider the human cost of the drug war and to demand reform to the current legal and penal system.

The House I Live In is a 2012 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9 and a MetaScore of 77.

The House I Live In
Where to Watch The House I Live In
The House I Live In is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent The House I Live In for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 48 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (5,389)
  • Metascore