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Our Song (2000)

Cast: Kerry Washington, Kerry Washington, Marlene Forte, more...
Director: Jim McKay, Jim McKay
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Rating:
Studio: MGM
Genre: Drama, Independent
Running Time: 97 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Synopsis
Jim McKay follows up on the critical success of his Girls Town (1996) with this sensitively-wrought, finely-etched character study of three teenaged girls living in the Crown Heights section of New York City. Though it is summer, the trio find themselves locked in a demanding rehearsal schedule for their prize-winning marching band. Yet this is one of a sundry responsibilities these girls must shoulder. With their parents over-worked, absent, or in jail, they must take care of all household chores and hold down dreary soul-deadening jobs. To make matters worse, their school is closing down for asbestos removal. Yet the most pressing concern for Maria (Melissa Martinez) is her discovery that she is pregnant, for a second time, after a latex-free tryst with a classmate. She is reluctant to consider an abortion, though the prospect of telling her harried mother seems no less daunting. Her best friend Lanisha (Kerry Washington) is supportive, but Joy (Anna Simpson), the third in the trio, cools to Maria, preferring to retreat into a world of fantasy. This film was screened at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
George Washington
Slower paced but equally compassionate portrayal of teenagers dealing with their mundane realities

The Stranger Inside
McKay was producer on this harsh, realistic made-for-TV drama

Short Cinema Journal 10: Chaos
For Peter Sollett's wonderful Bronx teen love story, "Five Feet High and Rising"

Crazy/Beautiful
Underrated, well-acted teen drama centering on interracial romance; helped by its authentic, humanistic feel


GreenCine Member Reviews

heartfelt, understated drama by maritoni July 18, 2003 - 12:19 PM PDT
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2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Writer/Director Jim McKay brings a truly sensitive, realistic portrayal of three teen girls who are best friends in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. "Our Song" follows Joy, Lanie and Maria over the course of a transitional summer.

Excellent performances by all the lead actresses and the Jackie Robinson Steppers (the girls are all in this wonderful community marching band) as well as many of the supporting roles. It's such a pleasure to see characters of color (and young women at that) portrayed with depth in such rich roles that go far beyond stereotypes of urban life.

Shot in documentary style, McKay really captures the feeling of this community from these girls perspective. One thing that makes it so real is the wonderful performances. The other strength is the well-written script with much of the tension and emotion revealed in what is left unsaid, rather than overly explaining things in dialogue.

In the end, I felt both sad and uplifted reminded of the pain and hope of being young and going through life changes. I highly recommend this film!

Keeping it real (extraordinary and touching) by underdog April 11, 2003 - 10:50 AM PDT
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6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Simply put: one of the most realistic and touching portraits of modern female adolescence (whatever that's saying) put on film. Set in Brooklyn during one typically sweltering summer, Jim McKay's extraordinary indie film is a natural mix of teenage romance, drama, and comedy that never strains credulity or ever strikes a false note -- you feel like you're in the lives of these girls. The performances are great, too, considering most of the girls weren't professional actors before (nor were they in a marching band before). And the marching band music is as stirring as anything in "Drumline." It's a great film particularly for older teens and their parents, or for that matter anyone who's experienced the pain of adolescent friendships that grew apart.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.65)
31 Votes
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"Indie, or Independent": [n] A film funded by non-studio sources and made outside the traditional Hollywood system (it could be distributed by a studio). This list emphasizes historical and/or artistic relevancy. In alphabetical order:
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