The girls in the 'hood have serious issues and problems: Shanae was gang-raped when she was 10, alcohol-dependent and pregnant at age 11 and convicted of stabbing a friend to death that same year. Megan, 15, was abandoned by her drug-addicted prostitute mother and ran away from 10 foster homes before she was arrested on assault charges. In her powerful and moving documentary, Liz Garbus trails the troubled twosome through detention, counseling, foster care and finally, home, where further adversity awaits them.
The girls respond to their situations like the children they are: Shanae can't understand why she's incarcerated; and Megan expresses frustration, anger and a frightening lack of self-awareness. In the end, the girls' stories are inspiring and heartbreaking, making this sensitively directed film one of the most rewarding of the year.