Rated: PG for thematic elements and some language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: August 4, 2017 Released by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Amanda Lipitz's new documentary Step is stimulatingly nimble using its inner-city Baltimore locale to strong effect.
Those depicted here were in six grade back in 2009 when the charter school for young women came into existence; now the setting includes the recent authoritative brutality resulting in the demise of Freddie Gray and the escalation of 'Black Lives Matter.'
What the filmmaking demonstrates is the zeal and sincerity to one another and their dreams, along with the supportive staff to make these competitors better in every sense of the word. Especially when it comes to the possibilities of post-secondary education. Rigors of the titular rehearsal routines are on view as a big competition lies on the horizon.
Lipitz centers on three girls of the 'Lethal Ladies" of Baltimore, one of the dynamic aspects of the Leadership institution for young women. There is Blessin, one of its originators, who has attendance and grades issues. Cori eyes the estimable Johns Hopkins University, but she needs scholarship backing because her parents aren't that solvent financially. And, Tayla feels the pressure of a mother who diligently attends her practices.
Sensing the joy and frustrations within societal constraints is part of how Lipitz makes Step up with steely resolve that instills an instinctive, insightful, even affecting immediacy, not to mention benevolence for those with much willpower to perhaps reach a high-spirited finish.