America (2009 film)

Directed by Yves Simoneau
Produced by Rosie O'Donnell, David A. Rosemont, Larry Sanitsky
Written by Joyce Eliason, Rosie O'Donnell (film)
E.R. Frank (book)
Starring Rosie O'Donnell
Ruby Dee
Philip Johnson
Music by Normand Corbeil
Cinematography John B. Aronson
Edited by Richard Comeau
Distributed by Lifetime Television
Release dates
  • February 28, 2009 (2009-02-28)
Running time
120 minutes
Country United States
Language English

America is a 2009 Lifetime Television film starring Rosie O'Donnell, Ruby Dee and Philip Johnson. It was directed by Yves Simoneau and written by Joyce Eliason. The film is based on the young adult novel America by E.R. Frank.


A biracial 17-year-old boy named America (Philip Johnson), who has experienced a difficult life of foster care and sexual abuse, undergoes counseling with psychiatrist Maureen Brennan (Rosie O'Donnell) to help him come to terms with his painful past of childhood trauma, including growing up with (and abandoned by) a crack-addicted mother (Toya Turner) and being shuffled through a series of foster homes including the Harpers (with Mrs. Harper played by Ruby Dee and Reggie Harper by Tim Rhoze). The film starts with Maureen Brennan (Rosie O'Donnell) at a group home where she is giving a small introduction about the outlook for most of the group home children's futures (most would most likely end up either living on the streets, in jail, or dead). A young America, emotionally vacant and suicidal, comes to the attention of Brennan. When she (Dr. B) tries to talk to America, he refuses to give her any answers about his childhood. Eventually Dr. B helps him understand his troubled past in order to find the courage to move on and survive. Helps him to forgive and forget, in order to be able to move forward in life.[1]



The moving teledrama film of tragic but ultimately hopeful events of transformative healing based on a novel by E.R. Frank, premiered on Lifetime Television on February 28, 2009 against critical acclaim and was repeated on March 1 and 3, 2009 on the same channel.

Its showing also led to public discussion about the system of foster care. Rosie O'Donnell explained the dilemma of "aging out of the foster care system" when young people in foster care are left out of the system when they reach 18 (21 in a few U.S. states), as all services are cut. O'Donnel; explains that most of these kids end up as homeless or in jail.[2][3]


The DVD of the film was released on September 1, 2009.

America (2002 novel)

Main article: America (2002 novel)

The film is based on America, a young adult novel written by E.R. Frank. It tells the story of America, a fifteen-year-old biracial boy who had gotten lost in the system. The author of the book, E.R. Frank, is herself a social worker. In an author's note at the end of the book, she says she has worked with many Americas over the years.


External links

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