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On the Outs (2004)On the Outs (2004)

            This sad and gritty film has earned a half dozen festival awards and nominations. It follows the tragic fates of three young women from Jersey City's ghetto—Suzette (a pregnant runaway teenager), Marisol (a crack addict and young mother), and Oz (a drug dealer), whose lives intersect after their separate paths to prison. Nearly every influence in their lives, whether personal or social, is harmful to them, including school, music, home, friends, drug and alcohol abuse, and, most of all, their trash-talking, gangsta boys. The girls live in a malevolent universe that is parallel to anything you would consider normal. Whether they got there by bad luck, bad choices, or by a heartless society that has victimized them is debatable. The director shows his hand, though, with several shots of the Statue of Liberty.

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