On the Outs
There is nothing more powerful than a good story
Saturday night while browsing through Fader Magazine at Barnes & Noble, I saw an ad for the indie film called "On the Outs." I read the reviews, noticed one of the actresses from "Raising Victor Vargas," and filed it away in the back of my mind. I knew I was making a trip to Hollywood Video that night to pick up a DVD for my mom, so I thought I would pick something up for myself.
Since beloved's been incarcerated I have pretty much stopped watching DVDs. It was one of the things we loved doing together. We would hit up the DVD store on 14th & 6th Ave and buy a few flix, order take out, pop some popcorn & enjoy hours of movies. Since he's been gone I haven't been able to watch many DVDs. I don't think this has been a conscious choice, but I have rarely been in the mood. But last night, there was something about the ad that made me want to watch this film.
Based on the stories of young women in juvenile detention centers, "On the Outs" is a gripping tale of three young women from Jersey City dealing with the hard knocks life has thrown their way. There is Suzzette, the "good girl" who gets caught up with a fast-talking, drug dealing boyfriend, Oz, the seemingly hardened gangster girl who deals drugs, despite the toll they have taken on her mother, And Marisol, the single mom whose drug addiction threatens her involvement in her daughter's life. On the surface, each story seems like just another story about girls pissing their life away. But the beauty and the power of this film happens when you realize just how normal and human each one of these girls are.
Perhaps it was the adept storytelling or the weight of beloved's and my situation, but I found myself sobbing, uncontrollably about halfway through this film. Despite their behavior, their bad decisions, and their crimes, each girl had a story that was is palpable, so real, that you can't help but feel for them and even imagine yourself in their shoes.
In the tradition of indie films like Girl's Town and Our Song, On the Outs perfectly illustrates how easy it is for anyone to get caught up in the downward spiral of bad decisions. Today, young women are the fastest growing segment of the prison population. Many of these girls get locked up before they even reach the age of 13. Because of these alarming trends, this film is so important. With realistic storytelling and poignant acting, this film can change the way we see our sisters, daughters, and mothers. Now, instead of writing them off for bad choices we may be able to understand why those choices were made. Understanding is the first step in finding common ground and saving our girls and boys from making damaging choices. I encourage everyone to see this powerful film.
Related Tags: On the outs, independent films, IFC, sundance films, DVDs, chick flix, prison, juvenile detention centers