Synopsis by Mark Deming
This documentary examines four years in the widely contrasting lives of four teenage girls of different social and ethnic backgrounds, all growing up in the working-class community of South Philadelphia. De'Yona Moore is African-American and was raised by her grandmother, who is loving but tolerates no nonsense and has drilled her granddaughter on the importance of self-respect and safe sex. A student at a performing arts school, De'Yona has a fine voice and dreams of a career as a gospel singer before she's emotionally derailed by a death in the family. Anna Chau is a first-generation American born to Vietnamese immigrant parents. Anna is very bright and would like to become a doctor; her parents are very strict and insist that she cannot date or socialize with the opposite sex, though she sometimes sees boys from school on the sly and witnesses the downside of dating through her friends. Lisa Bronca, of Italian descent, is a serious student who attends Catholic school and lives with her mother. She's convinced that there's more to love and sex than what her teachers have told her, but attempting to find out more from the boys in her neighborhood has not always been pleasant. And Raelene Cox's life has been one tragedy after another; pregnant at 14 with a boyfriend who beat her, she had to drop out of school to care for her baby after her parents' drug habits made them too unreliable to care for a child. Raelene goes through one boyfriend after another and becomes pregnant again, only to suffer a miscarriage. Girls like Us was produced independently by filmmakers Tina DeFeliciantonio and Jane C. Wagner, and later shown on PBS as part of their documentary series P.O.V.
adolescence, coming-of-age, girl
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance