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Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.
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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Interesting

Author: krazy982 from Montana, US
9 November 2003

I, on the other hand, do not agree with what one of the user's write stating that this movie was "just awful". If you have never lived in that environment or been around people like that, then how could you understand the movie? It might have not been a Matrix type movie but it had it's meaning behind it. Here we have a girl who grew up in the projects, family on a tight income, and deals with the pressures of teenage life in New York City. For someone to just say that it was plain awful is insulting..maybe they need to see the movie again and actually take the time out to try and understand what this movie is trying to say to our young people.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Low Budget Urban Cinema Series.

8/10
Author: Joseph P. Ulibas (sirjosephu@aol.com) from Sacramento, CA
26 February 2005

Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. (1992) was an interesting movie that was neglected during it's release at the theaters and on video. I saw a trailer for this film at my local art house cinema. I enjoyed this movie very much. The budget was shoe string and the cast was filled with mostly novices but the end results were very effective. A sad tale about people who'll be swept under the rug due to ignorance about life, their economic situation or the environment where people live.

A young African-American teenager wants to make it out of the ghetto and go to college and make something out of herself. But some questionable judgment calls, a dire environment and the out spoken person that she is slowly drag her down. Can she claw her way out of her current dilemma or will she just become another girl in the projects who tried but failed?

Too bad the director never made a follow up picture or produced a sequel to this film. I would like to see if she managed to pull herself out of the poverty mire or just became another disenfranchised person on the dole or in government housing. Sad but filmed with a gritty realism.

Highly recommended.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Movie

10/10
Author: alcon_s from United States
9 June 2005

I thought this was an excellent movie. It held my attention the whole time. The only acting I saw that wasn't really professional was by Ty and some of the smaller characters. But, really, that only added to the realism.

Some people say there was overacting. To me these critics are probably overreacting to 3 things:

1)Johnson's hard accent which if you are not used to, will think is over dramatical. 2)The lingo. You have to remember this was 1992. A lot of the stuff they were doing and saying was typical then. The house parties where everyone danced in step (which by the way, the scene that had the Caribbean dance feel mixed with the NY style was very authentic. I'm referring to the party that Chantelle went to after lying to her mom about where she would be, where she first hooked up with Ty). Plus the clothes were Cross Colors style, remember those? 3)The energy of Chantelle. It may seem over the top, but I've met people like this, and some from NY no less.

I thought it was cool to show how Chantelle did try to hold up this self image of being so strong, but really she needed a male role model. That was evident when she couldn't believe her father hit her, or when Ty initially called her a bad word and stuff. She acted like she couldn't believe it happened after she put so much trust in them. That is very typical. A female needs a good man to be around and when they don't have it, they try to assume some of what they think are a man's characteristics. All that bravado Chantelle gave off with her mouth and actions? It was what she thought she needed to succeed in this harsh world.

A comment was made that the family and Chantelle didn't look "poor" enough. That was dumb. What did the user want, Chris Rock on the crack in New Jack City? I've seen plenty of lesser income areas where from the outside, I was scared to enter. But, on the inside, their area was neater that my own house. Reason being, just because you have lesser income, doesn't mean your living quarters will be in shambles. Also, since you have less money and area to live in, you are almost forced to be neat. Lastly, everybody has problems like these from the rich to the poor. Comparing this movie's lower income area to "ones in LA" was another dumb comment. You can always find one area that is supposedly worse than another. Just like you can always find an area that is supposedly wealthier than the other. Those comments made me angry.

Excellent movie. Where is Johnson? I don't know.

2 last things:

Back then, they didn't do director's commentary but that would have been nice to put on the DVD. I can't stress that enough.

Johnson's commentary would have been REALLY good. Johnson, if you are reading this, please let us know where you are and comment. Or e-mail me.

Third, they didn't really stress HIV/AIDs. But, I guess that is what the movie KIDS was for. Another NY movie. I remember the Nikki D song "Daddy's Little Girl" from the back in the day. That was always fresh, house mixed with rap.

Brooklyn!!! I love it.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Love this movie!!

10/10
Author: bxbabygurl201 from United States
18 July 2007

I think people are being so0o close-minded about this movie, that its pretty sad. The director did a great job at showing urban life and how it is growing up as a teenager, because I know thats just how I am and that how it really is where I'm from. I feel like I can relate a lot to the character since I have more going for myself and I am trying to get out the hood, which I think the director was trying to show. Just because you come from poverty doesn't mean you have to stay and that Doesn't MEAN YOU CANT DRESS NICE!!! Also in a movie, nobody says you have to like the main character, so why are so many people writing that?? You don't have to agree with the things the main character does, the director is just trying to get a story across. And just because someone is BOOK SMART, it doesn't mean they don't like flashy things such as cars, because their just not used to it. And whoever wrote the comment about making $500 in a little grocery store- you are so wrong!! And Lastly, just because you live in an urban area it does not mean that you surround yourself around VIOLENCE, GUNS, AND DRUGS!! People can be so ignorant about lifestyles they never experienced and then they want to be comment negatively about it. I think the director did a great job!!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Intriguing Film with Excellent Dialogue & Unique Characters

8/10
Author: D_Burke from United States
19 March 2008

If there was one truly great thing about "Just Another Girl On The I.R.T.", it's the incredibly realistic dialogue. This fact is especially remarkable when considering that most of the film's cast haven't acted in a film previously, including Ariyan A. Johnson, who plays the protagonist, Chantel Mitchell. Not only is the dialogue funny at times and poignant at others, but it's almost as if you're in New York City listening in on real people's conversations. Any other movie with as low a budget or as unknown and as amateur a cast would have had dialogue that was wooden or may have sounded forced.

No one can critique this film without mentioning the character who represents "Just Another Girl", namely Chantel. Chantel is certainly not "just another girl", as she makes perfectly clear when she breaks the fourth wall. The best thing about Chantel, and what some critics (especially on this site) don't seem to understand about her, is that she is a complicated, round character. At her best, she's ambitious, hard-working, clearly very smart, and incredibly charismatic. However, she clearly makes some wrong choices in this movie which most viewers probably look at in dumbfounded awe. The reactions that Johnson reflects upon realizing those wrong choices are very familiar and genuine.

There is unfortunately very little written about Johnson's life and background anywhere on the Internet, which may account for her strong, believable debut performance in this movie. However, Johnson plays this complicated character so convincingly that it's hard to believe this is her feature film debut. She has since had noticeable supporting roles in two critically acclaimed features ("Bulworth" in 1998, and "The General's Daughter" in 1999), but hasn't acted in a movie or TV show since 2004. To say she is an underrated actress is indeed an understatement, and I would love to see her appear in another film sometime soon.

Of course, the plot is something which other reviewers on this site have been critical about. Although it is true that the plot is somewhat unusual, it's not exactly a bad thing when the plot of a movie can't be explained in one sentence. If anything, plot complication can be a valuable asset to a film, and "Just Another Girl on the I.R.T." is certainly no exception.

But then again, a number of Spike Lee's films had similar non-linear plots. This film reminded me of something Spike Lee would have directed not just because it had a majority African-American cast. This film drew parallels to "She's Gotta Have It" with a strong, independent female protagonist, the constant breaking the fourth wall and addressing the audience, and the frank discussions about sex. It also reminded me of "Crooklyn" and "Do The Right Thing", along with a number of character-driven films by Jonathan Singleton.

I'm not so sure if this was a film "Hollywood didn't dare to make", as stated in the closing credits. After all, Spike Lee revolutionized black cinema, and is still no stranger to controversy with the messages in his films. Plus, the issue of teen pregnancy has been dealt with in cinema before (e.g., 1989's "For Keeps") and since (2007's "Juno"). So what Leslie Harris meant by that statement is unclear to me, and did actually come off as a bit cocky.

Still, this film deserves a lot of credit for its dialogue, characterization, and uniqueness in its own right. Ariyan Johnson brought a lot to this film which other actresses with her experience may not have been able to handle. It's too bad director Leslie Harris didn't make a follow-up feature, or even a sequel. But still, to make a mark on Hollywood with a film like this, even if it's only one time, is quite the accomplishment. I just wish more people could see this film.

I was fortunate to find a used DVD of this film in a local music store. I only paid about $7 for it, and it remains a priceless addition to my DVD collection.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Earnest and heartfelt debut

7/10
Author: pwmoses from Motown, Philly
29 May 2000

This film has heart that overshadows many of its faults. There is a lot of overacting in this film, but a lot of substance in it as well. I remember the love scene being very, very well done and very tasteful, one of the best I think I've ever seen. The song in the background fit the scene perfectly, it wasn't any "bump and grind" type of track. Kudos to Leslie Harris for making a moving as much as imperfect film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I just fell in love with this movie!

9/10
Author: klwc1 from United States
13 October 2005

Just Another Girl On The IRT is one of my favorite movies. I was introduced to this movie about ten years ago and fell in love with it. I thought it was well acted and I could relate to Chantell's character.I love the music and I just loved the movie I know ever word by heart.I think so many other teenage girls can benefit from seeing this movie. All the things she goes through with being a teenager is reality. Chantell deals with trying to live a life of her own but also having to take responsibility for her family life as well. But as she learns trying to live a life of your own also has responsibilities that you must own up to. So I high recommend that all teenagers check this movie out and maybe you'll learn something.

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The working poor, the folly of youth and the African American experience...

7/10
Author: calvinnme from United States
25 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

... are explored here. The cultural references - clothes, dancing, music - are somewhat dated, but then this is not just another teen movie. The story is told through the eyes of Chantel Mitchell, a 17 year old girl living in Brooklyn with her parents and much younger brothers. Dad works the night shift, mom works days, and even then they work paycheck to paycheck. They have just enough overlap in schedule that they argue just before dad gets up and after mom goes to bed, so Chantel knows all of their problems. She is a smart girl, she has the grades, she has the plans - she wants to go to college and on to medical school. Financially, you just wonder how that is going to be possible, but she has drive and you are pulling for her. But she also has a mouth on her that gets her into trouble at work when she waits on entitled yuppies and at school when she wants to disrupt the teacher's lesson plan and get a more Afro-centric conversation going. Even her African American authority figures such as the principal say things like "a young lady should do this" or "a young lady should do that"...viewpoints that probably nobody even of my generation - I'm 57 - wouldn't have rolled their eyes at when 17.

Chantel is never going to make the mistakes her parents made and get trapped here. There is just one problem. Chantel is 17, just like her parents were 17 once, just like her parents who probably had parents that were too busy scraping a living together to give the close supervision and guidance needed, and thus she gets mixed up with a more well off boy, has only word of mouth and borrowed birth control pills to go on when it comes to sex, and she gets pregnant.

When Chantel discovers her condition she acts like so many teenagers - like this is a case of acne that will go away if she just ignores it. Then when it doesn't just go away she comes up with very unclever ways to hide her condition from he parents. Ways that are so unclever they are hilarious. Any parent would notice what was going on if they weren't so busy fighting the daily business of making a living as Chantel's parents are doing. So they don't notice.

I'll let you watch and see how this turns out. There is one thing that Chantel does at the end that made me dislike her for just a minute, and then I realized that this was just part of the panic and denial that she had been in for nine months. She just needed to get a grip.

This one is not well known but I think it is worth your time. If anything it shows you that just telling the African American community that they need to "clean up their act" is much easier said than done.

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Urban Teenager in New York

7/10
Author: gavin6942 from United States
30 September 2015

Chantel Mitchell (Ariyan Johnson), a hip, articulate, black high-school girl in Brooklyn, is determined not to become "just another girl on the IRT" (the IRT is one of NYC's subway lines).

In the early 1990s, if you wanted to see a group of kids and some scary stuff, you probably watched "Kids". Now, that remains a scary film, but this is just as good. nay, it is probably better. It addresses AIDS, pregnancy, racism... even the geography of Africa. And it does it in a way that is not heavy-handed and will not scare off white folks who dislike "black movies".

If you grew up in the era of TLC and Salt 'n Pepa, this is the film equivalent of those songs. Well worth seeing. There is more independent film out there than Jim Jarmusch and Richard Linklater.

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Hard To Watch(SPOILERS)

6/10
Author: nina-oh-nina from United States
14 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

the main character, Chantel is annoying. she is a huge Brooklyn, New York stereotype. she yells every line and her attitude stinks worse than rotten fish. at times she is unnecessarily rude with people who have done nothing to her...when she stole the money from the baby's father and spent it with her friend I was angry for him. then she attempted to talk him into putting the baby into a garbage can and throwing her away...I was pretty much done at that point. Then it cuts to her being all honky dory and back to life as if it hadn't even happened. I'm not the biggest advocate for abortion but I would have preferred she done that over going through labor and putting it in a garbage bag dumping it on the street

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