Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. | Chicago Reader

Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.

“A film Hollywood dared not to do” is how writer-director Leslie Harris described her lively 1992 movie—a brave independent quickie with only a 17-day shooting schedule, about an ambitious and angry black teenage girl (Ariyan Johnson) living in one of the Brooklyn projects who goes into denial (with catastrophic results) when her boyfriend (Kevin Thigpen) gets her pregnant. What's both refreshing and off-putting is that Harris's sense of urgency isn't accompanied by any clear or consistent analysis; her heroine's denial eventually overwhelms the movie. Yet Harris's refusal to treat her heroine strictly as role model or bad example makes her portrait a lot livelier and less predictable—as well as more confusing—than the standard genre exercises most reviewers seem to prefer. What's exciting about this movie is a lot of loose details: frank girl talk about AIDS and birth control, glancing observations about welfare lines and the advantages of a boy with a car over one with subway tokens. R, 92 min.

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