Very Young Girls, directed by David Schisgall, Nina Alvarez and Priya Swaminathan, brings the story home. The film follows several New York City tween and teenage girls who’ve become prostitutes, and who are trying to cope with the consequences and redirect their lives.
Girls Gone Astray Find Guidance
These girls, who are maturing physically but remain emotional infants, are desperately in need of guidance--and, if they're lucky, it comes to them in the form of Rachel Lloyd, who is also this film’s central character. Lloyd‘s own background was as troubled as that of the girls. She was born in the UK, dropped out of school and fled to Munich, where she worked as a teenage stripper and hooker before transferring her trade to New York, where she eventually changed her act. Finding her current calling, she began helping young girls who find themselves in situations like the one from which she escaped.
Lloyd established a outreach organization called Girl Education and Mentoring Services or, for short, GEMS, to give guidance and help to teenage girl prostitutes. Lloyd began the program in her apartment and eventually got funding to open a recovery center where girls can seek shelter while they’re trying to redirect their lives. All of the girls who’re profiled in the film are participants in the GEMS program.
Exposing Bad Men
It’s surprising, though, that the film’s directors don’t venture further into investigating the underlying social, political and economic conditions that make the film’s cast and other young girls so vulnerable to the men who exploit them. Yes, the filmmakers let the girls tell us how they fell in love, were fooled into turning tricks and then couldn't find any way out of their shame, fear, loneliness, imprisoning relationships. But there’s little exposure of how and why our social welfare system fails to protect these girls from becoming victims of these predatory men--who are, after all, guilty of statutory rape and should be prosecuted for it, but most often are not.
Is It Enough?
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Parental Rating: Cautionary; some scenes objectionable
Country Of Origin: U.S.
Running Time: 83
Production Co(s).: Showtime; Swinging T Productions
Released By: Showtime
Nina Alvarez: Director
David Schisgall: Director
Priya Swaminathan: Director
Nina Alvarez: Producer
David Schisgall: Producer
Priya Swaminathan: Producer
John Moser: Exec. Producer
Jack Lechner: Exec. Producer
Diana Barret: Exec. Producer
Josh Freed: Assoc. Producer
Priya Swaminathan: Cinematographer
Nina Alvarez: Cinematographer
Jane Jo: Editor
Nathan Larson: Musical Composer
Nina Alvarez: Sound