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WE GROWN NOW

"Beautiful Tale of Friendship, Family and Faith"

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What You Need To Know:

WE GROWN NOW is a beautiful movie about the friendship between two 10-year-old black boys in the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago in 1992. Malik and Erik have been friends since birth, Malik briefly narrates in the beginning. Both boys have a vibrant homelife. Malik lives with his mother, grandmother and younger sister. Erik lives with his widowed father and college-going sister. Their lives are impacted by a police crackdown after the accidental shooting of a 7-year-old boy. Then, Malik’s mother gets a better job in another city, and his family’s upcoming move causes a rift with his friend.

WE GROWN NOW doesn’t have an action-oriented plot. However, it does give viewers a touching, inspiring celebration of friendship. Even better, family, faith and prayer play major uplifting roles in the story’s development and resolution. The mother, the grandmother and the father are positive role models. Also, the acting in WE GROWN NOW is wonderful. However, WE GROWN NOW includes some foul language, including two strong profanities and 13 lighter obscenities and profanities. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises some caution for this beautifully made, uplifting movie.

Content:

(CC, BB, CapCap, PC, P, LL, V, DD, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong Christian, moral worldview about the friendship between two 10-year-old black boys in Chicago in 1992 stresses Christian prayer, faith, friendship, family, forgiveness, and doing the right thing or knowing right from wrong (for example, one boy prays for his friend who’s moving away to another city and their friendship needs healing because the boy who prays is angry at first that his friend is moving away), including a scene where a pastor preaches the Gospel and references the Baby Jesus at a funeral for a young boy who was accidentally killed during a gang dispute (not shown), plus two parents are depicted as hard-working and one of the older children is going to college, but there’s some light political correctness, and the police take a heavy hand in falsely targeting and rudely searching one boy’s apartment after another young boy is accidentally shot and killed during a gang fight in the boy’s housing project (it’s probably true that the Chicago police were a bit heavy handed after the boy was murdered, which was a real incident in 1992 that affected the whole city of Chicago, but it also appears true that the scene is exaggerated though the scene’s point is not belabored in the rest of the movie, which is really about the friendship between two 10-year-old boys), and one scene shows students rising to say the Pledge of Allegiance;

Foul Language:
Seven obscenities (about three “d” words and three “h” words), two GD profanities, and six light profanities (mostly OMG);

Violence:
Police come into an apartment and ransack the place, unnecessarily breaking many personal items, and there are references to a young boy being accidently shot during a gang dispute (based on a real life, noteworthy incident);

Sex:
No sex;

Nudity:
No nudity;

Alcohol Use:
No alcohol use;

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Possible brief smoking and two references to a problem with drug gangs in a housing project in Chicago in 1992, but the movie shows no drug sales or drug use; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Two boys skip school and visit the Chicago Art Institute in Downtown Chicago to take a break from their daily routine.

More Detail:

WE GROWN NOW is a beautiful movie about the friendship between two 10-year-old black boys in the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago in 1992 as they play and interact with their families and the people in their building and in their school. WE GROWN NOW doesn’t have a dynamic plot, but it does give viewers a touching, poignant, inspiring celebration of friendship, with prayer and family playing a major uplifting role in the story’s development and resolution, but the movie does have some foul language that warrants caution, especially for younger children.

The movie follows Malik and Erik, two 10-year-old friends who live in one of the 15- to 19-story Cabrini-Green housing projects in 1992. The projects started out as a nice low-income alternative, but by 1992, had suffered years of neglect by the cash-strapped city. Local basketball star Michael Jordan, who had just come off his second NBA title, inspires the two boys. They love to take abandoned mattresses left in the hallways of their multistory apartment building, drag them downstairs to a nearby playground and jump high onto the mattresses to emulate their sports hero. One day, they skip school and visit the Chicago Art Institute downtown, to escape from the drudgery of their normal school day.

However, both boys have a vibrant homelife. Malik lives with his loving Christian mother, grandmother and sister. His mother is an accountant working for the state. Erik lives with his hardworking widowed father and his older sister, who’s going to college.

One day in October, however, a 7-year-old boy in Cabrini-Green, Dantrell Davis, is accidentally shot dead by a gang member who was aiming to kill a rival gang member. The shooting caused a local and national sensation, and the mayor, Richard Daley, Jr., ordered a police crackdown on the crime in the projects.

However, one evening, the police come knocking on Malik’s apartment. Based on wrong information, they have a warrant to search the place. During their search, they push Malik’s mother, Dolores, around, scare him and his grandmother, and break personal items.

Meanwhile, Malik’s mother applies for a promotion. She gets it, but she has to move the family to another city. However, it’s hard for Malik to tell Erik. Then, when Erik finds out, he gets angry and lashes out at his friend.

Will the two boys heal their rift before Malik and his family move?

WE GROWN NOW doesn’t have a dynamic, action-oriented plot. However, it does give viewers a touching, poignant, inspiring celebration of friendship, with family, faith and prayer family playing a major uplifting role in the story’s development and resolution.

For example, Malik’s mother leads a mealtime prayer around the kitchen table. Also, a pastor holds a heartbreaking but inspiring Christian funeral service for Dantrell Davis, the real-life 7-year-old boy who was shot and killed during a gang dispute. The pastor makes brief references to the incarnation of Jesus, Baby Jesus and the Gospel while talking about Dantrell’s death. In one of the movie’s two best scenes, Erik’s father talks to Erik about his rift with Malik and reminds him that he wishes he had one more day with his mother, who passed away when Erik was younger. He tells his son that he should know how to tell right from wrong by now. In the other scene, Erik decides to pray for Malik and his future. Thus, the movie strongly shows, in beautiful, artful ways, that faith, family and prayer can be spiritually and morally inspiring and therapeutic. Another major theme in the movie is that “Home is a place, and a place is the people.”

That said, the movie’s depiction of Chicago police is a bit politically correct. Of course, it probably is true that the Chicago police were a bit heavy handed after Dantrell Davis was murdered. However, the scene in the movie seems itself to be a bit heavy handed.

WE GROWN NOW does show, though, that Malik’s mother and Erik’s father are hard-working folks trying to support their families. In this way, and other ways, the movie presents a much more balanced view of the people living in the Cabrini-Green housing projects in the 1990s than all the news reports about rampant crime and drugs and dilapidated living conditions in Cabrini-Green ever did.

Also, the cast does a great job, including Jurnee Smolett as Malik’s mother, S. Epatha Merkerson as Malik’s grandmother, and Lil Rel Howery as Erik’s father. That said, the biggest kudos should go to Blake Cameron James and Gian Knight Ramirez, who are wonderful as the two young boys, Malik and Erik, respectively. Director and Co-Writer Minhal Baig deserves a lot of credit for eliciting such excellent performances and crafting such a heartfelt story.

However, WE GROWN NOW, has some foul language, including seven obscenities, two strong profanities and six light profanities. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises some caution, especially for younger pre-adolescent children.


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