5 Girls | Chicago Reader

5 Girls

This PBS documentary (2001) covers two years in the lives of five Chicago-area teens. The point isn't really clear: all we learn is that teenage girls are nervous about their looks, play cards, bowl, and clash with their parents. The video's standard mix of talking-head close-ups and longer shots never really conveys the different rhythms of five very different lives, though occasionally the editing underlines the more interesting comparisons: Toby, a New Trier student whose parents are both doctors, is full of enthusiasm, while Amber, an African-American girl whose mom shot her abusive father, is on the honor roll but lacks initiative. When all the girls get into college and a feel-good song plays over the closing credits, it seems that director Maria Finitzo has made nothing more than a “you can do it” propaganda piece. 113 min.

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