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Coming-of-age stories of two troubled yet self-aware young girls from Baltimore. Shanae, ten years old when she was gang-raped by five boys, responded by drinking and using drugs, and then graduated to murder, with the stabbing death of a friend, at age 11. Megan, whose heroin-addicted mother abandoned her to turn tricks, ran away from ten different foster homes before being arrested for attacking another foster child with a box cutter. Both girls ended up in the Waxter Juvenile Facility, home to Maryland's most violent juvenile offenders. It is here that their journeys really begin.
Directed By
© Wellspring Media
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Like many similar documentaries, this 2002 feature doesn't present easy answers, but by letting the two girls register as individuals, it forces the viewer to care about them when few around them can be bothered."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"It isn't just difficult to do justice to Shanae and Megan in an average of 44 minutes apiece; as it turns out, it's impossible."
‑ Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times
"Chilling, depressing, yet guardedly optimistic."
‑ Merle Bertrand, Film Threat
"..disturbing, yet life affirming portrait ... girlhood is an early stage of life, but the consequences of mistakes upon womanhood and, more significantly, motherhood will ..."
‑ Jordan Hiller,
"Girlhood begins as a document of criminal justice, and ends as a testament to the power of motherhood."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
"The trajectories of Shanae's and Megan's lives speak volumes for themselves."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"While it is one part a coming-of-age story and one part a story of girls and mothers, Girlhood is just as much about the attainment of wisdom."
‑ Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
"Girlhood thoughtfully questions not just the system itself, but our unfair assumptions about the young people caught within it."
‑ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide
"Deeply affecting in the moment, but I'm not sure that Garbus draws much in the way of larger conclusions."
‑ Brent Simon, Entertainment Today
"Thanks to unprecedented access, acclaimed documentarian Liz Garbus is able to continue her upfront examination of the American criminal justice system."
‑ Annlee Ellingson,
"An eye-opening sociological examination that is alternately moving and tedious. Ultimately, however, one can't help but be caught up in the travails of its two memorable subjects."
‑ Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
"It shows a fascination with the criminal justice system, and amazing access to the people caught in its wheels."
‑ Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger
"To the film's great credit, [director] Garbus evens out her often heavy-hand and we're given the emotional core of two young female criminals in ways often eluded in the movies."
‑ Jon Lap, Apollo Guide
"Fascinating and, at times, surprisingly moving."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"It may be the least expected happy ending in years."
‑ Aaron Hillis, Premiere Magazine
More reviews for Girlhood on Rotten Tomatoes

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