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OT: Our Town
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Reviews & Ratings for
OT: Our Town More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Fascinating characters and story, although generic film-making

7/10
Author: zwirnm from United States
28 April 2005

An interesting documentary that looks at two teachers' attempts to put on a theatrical drama in the context of some of America's most notorious urban poverty, OT: Our Town has a lot of fascinating characters and story, although pretty generic film-making. It's a documentary so it's hard to complain, but in terms of setting up character development, other films (Spellbound, for example) have done better. Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy apparently met Catherine Borok, an English teacher at Compton's Dominguez High School, and fell for her — she's both sexy and smart and committed — and only then decided to make a film about her efforts to direct Thornton Wilder's Our Town as the school's first dramatic presentation in twenty years. As a result, he missed a lot of back story and tries to catch up. The actors in the drama are fascinating - many of them are the school's most dynamic and motivated students, but even they have suffered tremendously from urban poverty, violence, and broken families. Ebony Starr Norwood-Brown, the stage manager in the play, is tremendously charismatic; Archie Posada is a natural comedian. Borok struggles to motivate and direct them all, and by the end of the documentary has successfully held the first dramatic presentation in two decades. In the meantime the director gets in a lot of digs at high school sports, and some funny/sad Waiting for Guffman-like amateur theatre bits.

The DVD adds a lot of value with followup interviews of the students, teachers, etc. The high school has now held sold-out annual plays for the past three years, and many of the actors in the production of Our Town have become highly successful in college or elsewhere. The success of the OT documentary brought Hal Holbrook — the Stage Manager of a 1960-era TV production of Our Town — to meet with many of the students, which is a nice scene in the bonus footage.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

They Laughed; They Cried; They Stood and Applauded

10/10
Author: mandy-1 from California
24 July 2003

This documentary about kids in a really tough L.A. school attempting an unlikely production of Thorton Wilder's "Our Town" rocked the 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival. Throw out any preconceptions you have about dry, dull documentaries. This one plays like a well scripted, well cast comedy/drama only it's real. The audience laughed; they cried; they stood up and applauded at the end. Then they awarded this low budget gem the Audience Favorite Award out of 180 films including Golden Globe and Oscar submissions from near and far.

I understand it will be out on DVD in August from The Film Movement. This one is worth searching for if want to be inspired, touched deeply, and cheering for the good guys.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Compelling and fun to watch

9/10
Author: joesorce from Boston
22 January 2006

Totally enjoyable documentary about all the joys and tribulations of attending high school in south Los Angeles. Anyone who's ever been a part of a school play can relate to these kids, and will root for them, while at the same time realizing how the deck is stacked against success. The DVD has extra footage and bonus material that is well worth watching.

GO DOMINGUEZ! D H rules! You cannot come away from this movie without hoping for the best in the future for Archy, Ebony, Jackie and everyone involved. This movie should be seen by anyone who has ever voted to take arts-funding away from our schools.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Great story, well-told

9/10
Author: WriConsult from Portland OR USA
25 February 2003

A truly heartwarming story about the value of arts in schools. In troubled Compton, CA, a high school which has not staged a play in 20 years decides to put on a production of Our Town. It's fascinating to watch how the kids and culture of the school deal with the challenges of theater and the rather stark contrast between the play's setting and their own lives. Very well done.

Only criticism: without giving away too much, there are a couple of incidents of implied (not directly viewed) violence that are juxtaposed in a manner that leads the view to think they are the same incident, when in fact they are not. A little more time in the editing room could fix this.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Our Town: 2005

Author: freakyfreak05 from United States
17 February 2005

the smallest haven of hope... ...in a self destructing world. the delicate and impressionable lives of teenagers are being molded into who they are going to be. a door has opened for them, giving them another choice, other than being swallowed up by the ghetto. a hand full of students and two teachers have made a choice and learned there is a better way of life. it's a real life film, documenting the lives of kids in a compton highschool trying to put on the play "our town" by thornton wilder. they learn how to work hard for what they want, that life is a struggle!!! and as the teacher in the film said, the only reason for putting on the play was that it was coming from love. Film Movement knows how to pich their movies. those kids made this world a better place.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Why great art endures

10/10
Author: middleburg
1 June 2010

Art--a mirror of our times, endures through the ages--and great art touches us with truth, beauty and wisdom. So it is with "Our Town" and so it is with this masterful documentary on the production of that legendary classic in a "tough" school, apparently against all odds, lovingly detailed in personal stories, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyful. The film works on so many different levels--the simple hard work--tremendously hard work and dedication it takes to mount ANY worthwhile artistic endeavor--the confusion with the source material that young students have, specifically with "Our Town", the sheer amazement at the audience's powerful reactions to an honest production of the work (whether by seasoned pros or high school "kids"), and the examination of just how much of a mirror of our life and times this great work can be. The director of this particular production, in utilizing the photographs of THEIR town--Compton, CA, shows just how universal the themes inherent in Our Town can be. In detailing the universality of the artistic experience, this documentary has made me appreciate Thornton Wilder's masterpiece anew--in fact, it has shed an entire new light on it for me! As a member of the performing arts community, it has also made me feel all the more proud and honored to be part of this art form that will endure as long as there are people, rich, poor, in the hills of New Hampshire, or the Mean Streets of LA--who will respond, react, take to their hearts, and in some cases become transformed by the artistic experience.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

film movement

Author: bexjokes from NY, NY
3 September 2003

This was definitely one of the most provocative, moving films I've seen. In a summer of such superficial Hollywood fare, it was refreshing to see such a wonderfully uplifting and real film. How do i purchase this amazing movie? What is film movement?

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It's all about the kids in the film

7/10
Author: scotty-37 from Berkeley, CA USA
29 October 2008

OT: Our Town is a documentary I'm glad I watched. It's an inspirational story in the vein of those dramas about teachers who make a difference in a falling apart urban school. But really, the kids are what make the movie work.

The filming and editing are good enough, nothing special. It also seems like the filming crew were dropped in the middle of the action with no time to get much back-story. The pieces of background and context they do get are really priceless.

It's nice to see the kids go through this play. To me, the most striking aspect was just how vulnerable and tender the kids actually are, despite the rough neighborhood and the rough situations life has given them.

There are some touching moments as the kids come together and connect with each other. They touch on some issues of feeling competent, dealing with romance, and negotiating relationships with parents. In some ways it's a bit cathartic like a "Breakfast Club" set in Compton instead of John Hughes' suburban Chicago. It's nice to see them come together, but just like The Breakfast Club you have to wonder if it will really last past the experience they had together.

Lets hope these kids remember their successes and go on to be successful and happy in life. They deserve it.

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