“We Grown Now”


Metacritic (10/10), Letterboxd (5/5), Imdb.com (10/10), TMDB.com (10/10)

No one ever said growing up was easy. It’s inherently a time for a lot of hard lessons, but they’re the kind of teachings that we need to help prepare us for adulthood. And, depending on the circumstances, it can be particularly challenging but also rewarding at the same time. Such is the experience of two young boys, Malik (Blake Cameron James) and Eric (Gian Knight Ramirez), best friends who go through virtually everything together in Chicago’s notorious Cabrini-Green Housing Project in 1992, a time when it was just about at its worst. Writer-director Minhal Baig’s third feature outing is an intimate, sensitive yet gripping depiction of childhood under difficult circumstances but laced with hopeful aspirations for being able to become whatever we dream about. This nominee for three 2023 Independent Spirit Awards, including best feature, is just about perfect in every regard, from its gorgeous cinematography and expert film editing to its fine original score and the performances of its superb ensemble cast, particularly the young protagonists, who come off completely naturally and effectively. What’s more, “We Grown Now” deftly and simultaneously manages to show the Windy City at both its best and its worst, no small feat, to be sure. In addition. there’s almost nothing in the narrative of this film that we all can’t relate to in one way or another, even if we didn’t grow up under the same conditions as those experienced by the characters in this film. It will touch you deeply and certainly move you – possibly to tears at some point – but this is a worthwhile release that absolutely should not be missed.