Directed by Jim McKay. USA. 2000.
Similar to David Gordon Green's George Washington but less stylized, the film showcases non-professional black and Latino actors with Kerry Washington as the standout. While the performances have some amateurish moments, I became so involved with the story that I forget the girls were even acting. Maria, whose father is in jail, has learned that she is pregnant by Terrell, a local student. She wants to have the baby in spite of the fact that she is only 15 and knows that Terrell is probably not going to be of much help. Joycelyn works in an up-scale dress shop but dreams about becoming a singer. In a very poignant scene in her bedroom, she pretends to be talking to her fans, then lies down in bed to recite one of her poems. She is close to Lanisha and Maria at the beginning but drifts off to make friends outside of the neighborhood. None of the girls receive much support at home and Maria is too afraid to even tell her mother about her baby. Yet, the single moms are not typical movie deadbeats or alcoholics. They are warm and loving parents whose time with their children is limited because of the pressure of supporting the family.
Lanisha's parents are
divorced but she is able to visit her father, a doorman in a luxury apartment
building and talk about music. Her mother is comforting when Lanisha learns
that a friend in the neighborhood has committed suicide, a somewhat melodramatic
plot point in an otherwise realistic film. As the summer winds down, the
girls drift apart and each decides on a different course. There are no
big dramatic moments, however, only the sad recognition of the inevitability
of change. Though we do not have blinders on about the frustrations that
may await them, we identify with their hopes and dreams without dwelling
on the negative. Our Song is an emotionally satisfying film about
growing up in the projects that refuses to see life in any terms other
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