Our Song

"Good"

Our Song Review


A low-budget, low-income slice-of-life movie oozing with community atmosphere and authentic affinity, "Our Song" will likely come and go in a blip from your local art house theater. But it deserves better.

Simply but vividly portraying the largely uneventful dog days of summer for three project-dwelling teenage girls in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood, writer-director Jim McKay ("Girls Town") scores such supremely natural performances from his trio of unknown stars that you feel as if you're eavesdropping on their lives.

Kerry Washington plays Lanisha, a coy 15-year-old with enough little girl left in her to absentmindedly smile and rock her shoulders to and fro when she thinks about boys. But Lani is prematurely worldly as well, having been pregnant once already -- a secret she confides to her best friend Maria, who has just gotten knocked up herself.

Maria is played by Melissa Martinez with sympathetic fretfulness and a short-sightedness that deftly instills in the viewer a genuine concern for her, even though sometimes you just want to shake her out of her stupor of existential indifference.

The third girl is Joycelyn (Anna Simpson), who has begun drifting away from her friends after landing a part-time job at a mall skin care boutique that affords her a Tommy Hilfiger wardrobe and a new circle of pals with fatter (if only slightly) wallets.

"Our Song" follows these three through routine (little brothers, good and bad parenting, sleep-overs, boy troubles) and crisis (an acquaintance's suicide), tying everything together with two influences that may have a major effect on their lives: 1) They're all in the Jackie Robinson Steppers, a renowned marching band made of Crown Heights kids (the actresses really play with the band, and the music is great). 2) Their school has been shut down because of asbestos, meaning they will all be bussed to different campuses when summer is over, and Lanisha has been accepted at a girls' school on the other side of New York.

Although McKay displays the practical effects of their sometimes hard lives (the asbestos may have caused Lani's chronic asthma), he does not employ such developments as cheap sympathy devices, nor does the director attempt to pontificate about overcoming urban adversity. Instead he just observes, letting the characters grow and develop naturally, and subtly implies that hope can defeat despair.

Take special note of Kerry Washington's performance as Lanisha. Her eyes are always deep with thought and she is so credible as a 15-year-old that I was stunned to discover that she was 22 when the film was shot, and that she's the same actress who played Sean Patrick Thomas' savvy, street-smart sister in "Save the Last Dance."



Our Song

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 18th April 2001

Distributed by: IFC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 47 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lanisha Brown, as Maria Hernandez, as Joycelyn Clifton

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Advertisement
Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.