"Are you ready to rock 'n' roll?"
If there's anything more awesome than seeing an eight-year old girl scream that into a microphone, it's being in a theater full of girls like this celebrating the opening of Girls Rock! The Movie.
Filmmakers Arne Johnson and Shane King focus on the inspiring breakthroughs, but don't skip over the heart-wrenching breakdowns. And interspersed through it all are statistics about adolescent girls – ones we often hear (e.g., the number one wish of teenage girls is to lose weight) but could stand to be reminded of.
The film follows four girls: Misty, a 17-year old who's transitioning from a lockdown group-home and a life of gangs and drugs, learns not just to play bass guitar but also to interact with her peers in a way that doesn't depend on her typical style of bullying. Laura, a 15-year old from Oklahoma obsessed with death metal, reminds us that even girls who seem brimming with confidence on the outside are often still suffering from the same struggles with self-worth on the inside. Eight-year old Amelia – who's clearly accelerated musically – admits that she has only one friend and struggles to mesh with other camp girls. And then there's Palace – a 7-year old charmer with a rebelliousness, intensity, and troubled nature way beyond her years.
The film really is incredible, and if there's any doubt about the power of the camp, Laura – who earlier explained (with a smile on her face) that hating herself is just a normal, accepted part of her existence – erases that when she tells us, "I've been waiting for so long to finally admit to myself that I'm amazing. I really am!"
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