Hidden in America (1996 TV Movie)
Story of a man Bill Januson whose pride in being the head of his family won't let him accept help from his sick daughters doctor. He has to prove to his kids that even with the death of his wife and the loss of his job that they can and will survive. After hitting brick wall after brick wall comes a glimmer of hope.
- Willa and Caroline are playing hide and seek at Caroline's house. As Willa runs through the house looking for a place to hide we see that Caroline's house is very upscale. It's three stories with a swimming pool and expensive furniture. Robbie is hiding in a tree watching his sister. He is supposed to pick up Willa but he waits until after the Millerton's offer to let Willa stay for dinner before he knocks on the door.
Bill takes Willa to the clinic because she seems to be getting weaker. Michael refuses to tell him if anything is wrong with her until the results of the tests come back.
While grocery shopping the kids scarf down as many free samples as they can until the employee tells them that the samples are just incentives for people to buy. Robbie acts like he's going to buy some but then leaves them on a shelf when he walks away. When they go to check out Bill doesn't have enough money to pay for all the groceries so he's forced to put some back.
At this point Robbie starts skipping school to find ways to earn money. At first he helps people bring their groceries out to their car and walks through the park looking for cans and bottles to recycle. Eventually he comes across a mechanic named Gus whom he develops a friendship with.
At Caroline's house while playing make-believe at a royal feast, Willa steals some food from the Millerton's pantry and hides it in her school bag. Caroline's mother notices but doesn't confront her about it because she doesn't know what she should say. Feeling bad, however, she gives Willa a bag of apples when she's about to leave to take home with her.
Bill has to work a double shift at the fast food restaurant so he's not able to bring Willa to her doctor's appointment. Michael meets Bill at work to give him an update on Willa. He says that Willa's immune system is weak because she's not getting enough iron. At the age that Willa is now any period of time without adequate nutrition can have long lasting implications that she can't make up for.
Bill goes for a job interview for a bus boy at a fancy restaurant. The manager hires him and says he can start on Monday. He's so happy that he quits his job at the fast food restaurant and tells Willa she can invite Caroline over for dinner. However, before he's able to start his new job he finds out that the owner replaced him with his nephew. Bill is pissed off now because he's unemployed and he spent a bunch of money for clothes that he doesn't need anymore. At home Caroline witnesses Bill fly into a rage throwing furniture. When Michael comes to pick her up he hears about Bill's latest string of bad luck and invites him over for dinner on Sunday. Bill tells him, "I can't digest charity food."
The next day Bill finds a job at a car wash through a temp agency. He comes home to a house with no food and changes his mind about the barbeque at the Millerton's. It turns out to be a little awkward because Caroline's grandparents and the Januson's don't have anything in common. Willa and Caroline are the only two people there who seem perfectly comfortable with each other. Bill confides in Michael that before coming there his family hadn't eaten since yesterday.
That night, Willa's health starts getting much worse. She cries and coughs all night. The only thing that Bill can do to make her feel better is to sing her a lullaby.
Finally realizing he has no choice, he breaks down and for the first time goes to apply for food stamps. He spends all day being shoved from one line to another at the "North Seattle Food Bank" until they tell him that the earliest he can receive assistance will be 5 days.
At the auto shop, Gus tells Robbie that the car they've been trying to fix is almost done except that it needs a new carburetor. Robbie runs home to get some money so he can buy it. He takes the money Bill was saving for rent that he had kept hidden. While there he gets caught by his father, and they have another big fight. Bill finds out that Robbie has been skipping school for 3 weeks but he doesn't find out about the money. Robbie tells him, "a man's not a man unless he pulls his weight," and Bill tells him that he's, "just another mouth to feed." Then he tells Robbie to go back to school but instead he goes to buy the part he needs and then takes it to Gus. The next day she tells him that she found a buyer willing to pay $1855 for the car and that she's willing to split it with him because of all the help he's given her.
Bill happens to walk by a construction site and feeling desperate he joins in and starts working even though he wasn't hired. By the end of the day the supervisor decides to hire him after seeing what a hard worker Bill is.
Meanwhile, Robbie goes to see Gus and finds the car isn't there. Unfortunately she wasn't able to sell it. Apparently, Angela, a girl who works with her, borrowed the car the night before to go see her boyfriend and she ended up getting into a car accident. Gus tries to explain to him that it's not the end of the world but she doesn't know the situation he's in.
When he gets home Willa tries to console him seeing that he's upset. Robbie just ignores her because he is too upset to talk so she goes outside. Thinking there's no more hope, Robbie trashes the time capsule that he's been making then writes on the bathroom mirror, "one less mouth to feed." He takes off his belt and steps into the shower.
When Bill gets home he finds Willa waiting for him outside on the steps and he's excited to tell her and Robbie about his new job as a contruction worker. They go inside to find Robbie passed out on in the bathtub. The shower head had broken.
At the hospital Robbie wakes up and confesses to his father about stealing his money. Bill is just happy to see that Robbie is alright. Later on, we see Will and Caroline playing in a park. Caroline tries to pretend like nothing is wrong but Willa is too tired to play along.