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Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: A dramatic narrative feature based upon the real stories of girls from the streets and juvenile jail, who lent their voices and unique stories to the filmmakers. These are girls who struggle with all the highs and lows of teenage life in an inner-city world that makes its own rules. (Fader Films)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. On the Outs parses the hopes and terrors of blasted lives with an empathy that never cheapens into pity. The movie wounds as much as it heals, and that's its true power.
  2. What makes the film feel genuine, however, are the performances.
  3. 75
    The excellent performances by the three leads, and the filmmakers' refusal to sugarcoat reality, elevate the film far beyond after-school special territory into something far more lasting.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    70
    Skillfully entwines stories of three young women drifting in and out of a Jersey City juvenile detention center.
  5. 70
    Bracing and remarkably compact drama, which invests some standard movie tropes of rough-and-tumble urban life with deep feeling and urgency.
  6. Certainly not the first film to show how a crushing urban environment can make a sensible-sounding antidrug slogan like "just say no" seem like so much nonsense, but it's one of the strongest.
  7. 50
    Well-meaning but mediocre.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. ChadS.
    Apr 27, 2007
    8
    When the three female leads converge in mutual incarceration, "On the Outs" succumbs to didacticism when a jail speaker lays down the rhetoric of the filmmakers to his captive audience, and more pointedly, to us, just in case we couldn't diagnose the problem for ourselves. "It's Hard to be a Saint in the City," just ask Suzette's mother, whose daughter is an obvious victim of her environment; a good girl who is not strong-willed enough to transcend all the drugs and guns of hip-hop's Jersey, not "The Boss' " Asbury Park wonderland of 1973. "On the Outs" suggests that being feminine is detrimental for a girl(the ghetto is too patriarchial); that traditional gender assignation will get you pregnant, or hooked on drugs. Oz(Judy Marte) has a maternal side(she loves her mentally-impaired brother), but unlike Marisol(Paola Mendoza), whose daughter is taken away by the state, and Suzette(Anny Mariano), who falls in love with a gangbanger; this girl presents herself as one of the guys. Oz still ends up in prison, but the drug pusher(more readily identified as a masculine role) leaves you with the impression that she'll eventually recognize the hypocrisy of her moral outrage(against mom, against Marisol), and realize that the Statue of Liberty is indeed colorblind, even though it's harder for some socio-economic groups than others. From the Jersey shoreline, Oz can only see Lady Liberty's backside; an ass, the perfect metaphor for how America isn't the land of opportunity if you're a disadvantaged minority(or so it seems). "On the Outs" keeps it real. There are no happy endings for any of the girls, only hope. Expand

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