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Our Song (2000)

R | | Drama | 18 April 2001 (France)
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Focusing on the bonding between three girls in Brooklyn's "Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band" and the choices the girls face once their high school closes down for asbestos removal.

Director:

Jim McKay

Writer:

Jim McKay
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Melissa Martinez Melissa Martinez ... Maria Hernandez
Anna Simpson ... Joycelyn Clifton
Kerry Washington ... Lanisha Brown
The Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band The Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band ... Themselves
Marlene Forte ... Pilar Brown
Raymond Anthony Thomas ... Carl Brown (as Ray Anthony Thomas)
Rosalyn Coleman ... Dawn Clifton
Carmen López ... Rita Hernandez (as Carmen Lopez)
Tyrone Brown Tyrone Brown ... Mr. Miller
Lorraine Berry Lorraine Berry ... Kim
Natasha Frith Natasha Frith ... Keisha
Chuck Cooper ... Benjamin
Iris Little Thomas ... Clinic Counselor
Kim Howard Kim Howard ... Eleanor
Juan Romero Jr. Juan Romero Jr. ... Samson
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Storyline

Focusing on the bonding between three female (an African American female, a half African American half Latino American female, and a Latino American female) high school members of Brooklyn's "Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band" and the choices the girls face once their school closes down because of the need for asbestos removal. This film is about a host of topics, not least of which is the hard-work involved in maintaining friendships. Written by Len Massaar

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some teen drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

C-Hundred Film Corp

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 April 2001 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

To tragoudi mas See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,267, 27 May 2001

Gross USA:

$254,199
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Kerry Washington. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Anything
Written by Grenique & Dahoud Darien
Courtesy of Houdah Music / Zomba/BMI & Jamribi/BMI
Performed by Grenique
Produced by Dahoud Darien for the Drunk Funk
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A quietly great coming of age story
25 April 2000 | by lwongSee all my reviews

`Our Song' gives us the lives of the three teenagers Lanisha, Maria and Joycelyn - best girlfriends hanging at the end of summer. Adolescent summer - even if we don't know the signals and landmarks of this particular terrain, Crown Heights, Brooklyn - is/was the same for us all. A lazy respite from the pressures and tumult of school. Welcome heat and idleness.

But if this experience of adolescence is universal, the inner city of the 90s is a different place than most of us know - maybe as foreign a country as any. Young bodies carving new silhouettes...beckoning new territory...the maze towards adulthood. The young mind coming into itself, speaking for itself, saying this is who I am, this is who I want to try to be. It is/was always thus. But this is how it plays out in Brooklyn in the late 90s.

Jim McKay is the writer/director of this film project but he acknowledges all who have shouted suggestions at him. The opening title slide `A film by' seems to list everyone in the universe. It's a gesture but by the end of the film, we know it to be a genuine one. [The closing titles also have some of the most on-the-money and appreciative credits I've read.] The vivid sound recording by Jan McLaughlin deserves to be especially noted. McKay's a modest leader who knows who is telling this story - it's his three graces Lanisha, Maria and Joycelyn. They're the real thing, their interactions have the fire of real friendship and the focus of reality. This ain't no music video shorthand telling of teenage life. It has the seriousness of the long unblinking stare.

Hanging out with them, we don't quite feel included but we do feel privileged to be listening in. These are real voices speaking with plainness about the crises and dullness of daily life. We are witness to the modern math of teenage life - how its problems are interpreted, calculated and summed and solved. Small scenes illustrate large thoughts throughout. Lanisha hangs with her dad at his security job - it's the only way she gets to spend time with him. We see the love that exists between them but also the failures of family and fatherhood. In a connected scene, Lanisha defends her dad to her mom, and we see how desperately she needs to love them both and for them to love her in return. Later, the three friends lay in the dark sharing visions and dreams - and we remember how crazy/funny kids are and more tragically, how realism hammers idealism these days. And at the end, Maria simply walking down the street is a short story in itself. We see her gather up the courage to hold all her fears and doubts at bay. She demonstrates for us the strength one needs to have to be able to embrace the fragility that makes life livable.

`Our Song's greatest gift is that we really feel deeply the terribly ephemeral nature of friendship - how, one day, alive and enlivening, that intimacy can, in the next, just turn and drift away. It's awful, but that's just the way it is, isn't it?


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