STEVIE Add To My Top 10

Content -2
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: March 28, 2003

Starring:

Genre: Documentary

Audience: Older teenagers and
adults REVIEWER: Eric
Rice STEVIE is a documentary
on the life of Stephen
Fielding, a young man in rural
Illinois who, in a short 20
years, has lived a life
fraught with pain. What makes
the documentary compelling is
the relationship of Stevie to
the filmmaker, Steve
James. Ordinarily, a
documentary on "the life of a
troubled youth" would not get
much attention, since dozens,
probably hundreds, are made
every year. The difference in
STEVIE is that the filmmaker
is a part of the young man's
history, and he unflinchingly
looks at the pain and burden
of becoming involved with
someone who is emotionally,
and spiritually,
troubled. Award winning HOOP
DREAMS documentarian Steve
James was a "big brother" to a
troubled young boy named
Stevie Fielding in 1985. Steve
had to quit after a short
while to continue his
education in Chicago, feeling
badly for the young boy, but
cutting off communication for
nearly 10 years. After the
success of HOOP DREAMS, in
1995, Steve decided to follow
up on Stevie and seek
forgiveness in a way, by
creating a documentary of his
troubled life. Stevie had
been in and out of every
juvenile hall, foster home and
mental hospital in Southern
Illinois. He was the
illegitimate child of his
mother and a man he has never
seen or known. As soon as his
mother met another man she
wanted to marry, she
neglected, viciously beat and
then rejected her illegitimate
son, Stevie, finally forcing
him to live with his
step-grandparents only 50
yards away in another house.
Trying their best, his
grandparents could not contain
him, leading to multiple
foster homes where he was
raped and abused by other
"children." Meanwhile, his
mother Bernice has a darling
daughter, Brenda, who is the
apple of her eye. Bernice
initially refuses to be
interviewed by Steve. As a
teenager and young adult,
Stevie had over a dozen
arrests on various charges,
and his greatest dream was to
dance on the grave of his
mother. Briefly marrying a
34-year-old woman with
children, he is single again
in nine months because of
violent quarrels between
them. It is as a 24-year-old
that viewers first meet Stevie
and Steve. We also meet
Stevie's lover/fiancé Tonya,
a young woman with obvious
mental and physical
disabilities. Steve takes a
brief hiatus as a "big
brother" to work on another
film for a year, only to
return and find Stevie in a
horrific state, being accused
of molesting an eight year old
girl and having written and
signed a confession! The
audience also learns that
Stevie's half-sister Brenda
was molested by Stevie when
they were younger. Steve is
torn in his emotions. Should
he do everything to help
Stevie? Is it cruel that he is
documenting this young man's
pain? Where is the line
between objectivity and
involvement crossed? How do
you stay in relationship with
a greasy haired, tattooed,
crooked teethed, uneducated
embodiment of everything
redneck, and a soon-to-be
convicted child molester, too?
Stevie is on a fast track to a
life in prison hell, yet it is
obvious that he is still a
confused, wounded 11-year-old
inside. Then Bernice, Stevie's
mother, enters the
non-denominational,
full-gospel, jumping-shouting
church, and things really
start to change on a Christian
level. Soon the critical,
hard, cryptic speaking, "it's
not my fault" Bernice is
visibly changed into a caring
and loving mother. The
audience learns that she is
the child of an abusive,
alcoholic family, and has her
own demons to fight. The
audience sees Bernice making
amends bit by bit with her
estranged son. . . and the
miracle she has been praying
for ever since her "salvation"
- Stevie coming to the church
to be baptized! STEVIE is an
emotional roller coaster
because it forces the viewer
to examine the person Stevie
and why one is repulsed by his
horrendous behavior, yet drawn
by the heart-gripping story
that is his life, and the hope
that he can break the terrible
cycle that entraps him. STEVIE
shows the amazing complication
of family life and the
horrendous impact a
dysfunctional family can have
on children. Stevie also shows
how one person, really caring
for another, can change that
person's life forever, but
must risk being changed
themselves. Full of colorful
real people and masterfully
crafted, STEVIE is a powerful
documentary. Marred by
language and subject matter,
it is not for children, or
even young teens. The
depictions of church, people
worshipping, and baptism are
handled starkly, but not with
criticism. The pastors and
godly foster home parents are
shown and edited with honesty
and clarity. Please address
your comments to: Tom
Ortenberg, President Lions
Gate FIlms 4553 Glencoe Ave.,
Suite 200 Marina del Rey, CA
90292 Phone: (310)
314-2000 Fax: (310)
396-6041 Website:
www.lionsgatefilms.com

Rating: Not Rated

Runtime:

Distributor: Lions Gate Films

Director: Steve James

Executive Producer:

Producer: Steve James

Writer: Steve James

Address Comments To:

Content:

(CC, LL, S, A, D, M) Christian worldview with an amazing portrayal of the biblical redemption of a family member; otherwise, it's the dark story of a boy failed by "the system"; 11 obscenities including five "f" words and two strong profanities; references to incest and sexual abuse; alcohol use; smoking; and, disrespectfulness to authority.

GENRE: Documentary

CC

LL

S

A

D

M

Summary:

STEVIE is a powerful documentary that portrays the life of a troubled boy whose lack of God and troubled family foundations appear to be leading him on a downward spiral to prison. With an amazing portrayal of Christian redemption, STEVIE is a sobering but well-crafted film.

Review:

STEVIE is a documentary on the life of Stephen Fielding, a young man in rural Illinois who, in a short 20 years, has lived a life fraught with pain. What makes the documentary compelling is the relationship of Stevie to the filmmaker, Steve James.

Ordinarily, a documentary on "the life of a troubled youth" would not get much attention, since dozens, probably hundreds, are made every year. The difference in STEVIE is that the filmmaker is a part of the young man's history, and he unflinchingly looks at the pain and burden of becoming involved with someone who is emotionally, and spiritually, troubled.

Award winning HOOP DREAMS documentarian Steve James was a "big brother" to a troubled young boy named Stevie Fielding in 1985. Steve had to quit after a short while to continue his education in Chicago, feeling badly for the young boy, but cutting off communication for nearly 10 years. After the success of HOOP DREAMS, in 1995, Steve decided to follow up on Stevie and seek forgiveness in a way, by creating a documentary of his troubled life.

Stevie had been in and out of every juvenile hall, foster home and mental hospital in Southern Illinois. He was the illegitimate child of his mother and a man he has never seen or known. As soon as his mother met another man she wanted to marry, she neglected, viciously beat and then rejected her illegitimate son, Stevie, finally forcing him to live with his step-grandparents only 50 yards away in another house. Trying their best, his grandparents could not contain him, leading to multiple foster homes where he was raped and abused by other "children." Meanwhile, his mother Bernice has a darling daughter, Brenda, who is the apple of her eye. Bernice initially refuses to be interviewed by Steve.

As a teenager and young adult, Stevie had over a dozen arrests on various charges, and his greatest dream was to dance on the grave of his mother. Briefly marrying a 34-year-old woman with children, he is single again in nine months because of violent quarrels between them.

It is as a 24-year-old that viewers first meet Stevie and Steve. We also meet Stevie's lover/fiancé Tonya, a young woman with obvious mental and physical disabilities. Steve takes a brief hiatus as a "big brother" to work on another film for a year, only to return and find Stevie in a horrific state, being accused of molesting an eight year old girl and having written and signed a confession! The audience also learns that Stevie's half-sister Brenda was molested by Stevie when they were younger.

Steve is torn in his emotions. Should he do everything to help Stevie? Is it cruel that he is documenting this young man's pain? Where is the line between objectivity and involvement crossed? How do you stay in relationship with a greasy haired, tattooed, crooked teethed, uneducated embodiment of everything redneck, and a soon-to-be convicted child molester, too? Stevie is on a fast track to a life in prison hell, yet it is obvious that he is still a confused, wounded 11-year-old inside.

Then Bernice, Stevie's mother, enters the non-denominational, full-gospel, jumping-shouting church, and things really start to change on a Christian level. Soon the critical, hard, cryptic speaking, "it's not my fault" Bernice is visibly changed into a caring and loving mother. The audience learns that she is the child of an abusive, alcoholic family, and has her own demons to fight. The audience sees Bernice making amends bit by bit with her estranged son. . . and the miracle she has been praying for ever since her "salvation" - Stevie coming to the church to be baptized!

STEVIE is an emotional roller coaster because it forces the viewer to examine the person Stevie and why one is repulsed by his horrendous behavior, yet drawn by the heart-gripping story that is his life, and the hope that he can break the terrible cycle that entraps him.

STEVIE shows the amazing complication of family life and the horrendous impact a dysfunctional family can have on children. Stevie also shows how one person, really caring for another, can change that person's life forever, but must risk being changed themselves.

Full of colorful real people and masterfully crafted, STEVIE is a powerful documentary. Marred by language and subject matter, it is not for children, or even young teens. The depictions of church, people worshipping, and baptism are handled starkly, but not with criticism. The pastors and godly foster home parents are shown and edited with honesty and clarity.

Please address your comments to:

Tom Ortenberg, President

Lions Gate FIlms

4553 Glencoe Ave., Suite 200

Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Phone: (310) 314-2000

Fax: (310) 396-6041

Website: www.lionsgatefilms.com

In Brief: