In 1995, director Steve James (of 'Hoop Dreams') returned to rural Southern Illinois to reconnect with Stevie Fielding, a troubled young boy to whom he had been an "Advocate Big Brother" ten years earlier.
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He began a film, a search, to discover not only what had happened to Stevie over the past ten years but to understand the forces that had shaped his entire life. Part way through the filming, Stevie is arrested and charged with a serious crime that tears his family apart. What was to be a modest profile turns into a intimate four and half year chronicle of Stevie, his broken family, the criminal justice system and the filmmaker himself, as they all struggle with what Stevie has done and who he has become.Written by
[when his step-grandmother mentions Stevie's abusive biological mom]
I don't have a mother, I never had one, and on the day she dies, I'm gonna go, and I'm gonna laugh at her!
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I watched Stevie last night at work...I work in a children's home with young children who were sexually abused or are sexual offenders (the kids were asleep when I watched this). He spent six years of his life in a place like this which was supposed to help him. It's very hard to get through to kids like this and even though people like me try, the kids do not get the therapy they so desperately need. Did anyone see the way Stevie backed down when faced with anyone that was dominant or made him responsible for his actions? His family and the filmmaker were enablers and told him what he wanted to hear and never addressed the issue. If he were to be held responsible for his actions all his life by the people he cared about and respected and not just told things to pacify him, maybe he would be a different person. I thought that this was a wonderful documentary and it makes me take the work that I do much more seriously because I see how it can turn out.
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