An African-American teenager attending a court-supervised high school in Saint Louis becomes pregnant and contemplates her future in this compelling but often frustrating documentary, a microcosm of the struggles faced by many disadvantaged young people of color today. Directors Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest filmed their subject, Daje, for two years, a period that encompassed not only the birth of her son, Ahkeem, but also the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. in nearby Ferguson, Missouri. The filmmakers try to remain unobtrusive in intimate situations, even when Daje and her boyfriend make imprudent decisions, and the predictable consequences raise the question of whether documentary makers should intervene in their subjects' lives. Yet the filmmakers seem more concerned with whether Daje will fulfill her promise to her son to forge a better life for them both, a question they leave dangling but on a hopeful note.
By Leah Pickett