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Living on One Dollar - Documentary Review

Updated on June 19, 2017

Living on One Dollar is a documentary made by four friends that want to live with $1 a day for two months, in a rural region in Guatemala. These young americans have to battle the parasites, hunger and extreme stress as they have never done before.

The whole premise of the documentary seems quite interesting to me and if you haven’t watched it yet then maybe my article here will convince you to do so. The documentary presents what it is like to live in poverty, with these four boys as the prime example but it also presents how people come together for a common goal or how they manage to help themselves and help others too.

These four friends went in Peña Blanca which is a rural village in Guatemala where 7 out of 10 people live below the poverty line. All they had were their clothes and a shack in which they were going to sleep. No floors, no furniture and no clean water. The budget for the trip was $1 per day for 56 days each. So each of them had $56 dollars in total for the entire trip, which means together they had $224.

What I liked about the way they assigned the money is the fact that they did not get $1 each and every single day. They left it up to chance. Drawing small paper notes out of a hat to see exactly how many dollars they would get in a day. It might’ve been $0 or it might’ve been $9. They did this to replicate reality where you don’t know the next time you will get paid or if you’ll have a place to work in today.

The second aspect they want to go through, is to start their own business. So they got a loan of $125 to pay for their living quarters (that shack I was mentioning) and for a plot of land where they could grow radishes on. This means that every 15 days they will have to pay back $6.25 to the bank.

This would be the basic premise of this documentary and the rest of it presents exactly how living in extreme poverty is and how hard it is to put food on the table, get yourself educated or open up a small business the help the locals.

It also presents the stories of their neighbours and how they make it through the day and how they struggle to get out of poverty. I won’t go into any details as I don’t want to spoil anything in the documentary itself.

Did you watch Living on One Dollar?

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I warmly recommend this documentary for everyone who wants to see and learn more about what it is like to live under the poverty line. I also recommend it because you will see how communities and people come together and help each other even if they don't have enough for themselves and I would also recommend it because of the journey these four friends embarked on and how they came the other end is quite interesting to watch.

I enjoyed the documentary, it was well paced, I was not bored at any point and I feel it brings out all the information that is needed so you can get an idea of how life is for a lot of people out there.

This documentary is available on Netflix, although I am not sure if it is available in all of the countries Netflix is in. I am in Romania and it was available here which makes me think it should be available world-wide. It can also be found on Amazon as a rental for $3.99 or to be purchased for $8.99.

Let me know in the comments below if you watched the documentary and if you did, which aspect of it you liked the most!

I also have other articles which I invite you to read if you find anything interesting.


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    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 8 months ago from Louisiana, USA

      I will definitely have to check this documentary out. I am a fan of the Netflix documentaries and have been on a binge of them. Most of the ones I watch are the true crime and murder ones. But this will definitely be a bit of fresh air. I will have to give it a watch. Thanks for sharing this review.