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Step

Rated PG 83 minutes 2017

★★★★★ ★★★★★
Witness the Platonic form of the crowd-pleasing Sundance documentary: part “underdog sports movie,” part “inspirational teacher movie,” part “people who seem to have no chance in the world get a shot at success movie.” That might make for some narrative sprawl, but there’s still a satisfying payoff. Director Amanda Lipitz spends a year following the step-dancing team at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, a charter school focused on sending every one of its African-American female students to college. The focus is on the senior year of three of the team’s founding members, and Lipitz observes as they contend with the circumstances of their home lives while still trying to excel academically. Naturally, there’s a big performance at the end, one this team has never won before, and the percussive step routines are energetic and edited with a satisfying zip. It’s never entirely clear to what extent the experience of starting and participating on this team improves—or even occasionally distracts from—their chances of succeeding as students, but when it builds up to a slow-mo hero walk that you know these girls have earned, it’s hard to nit-pick.

Film Credits

Official Site: www.foxsearchlight.com/stepmovie

Director: Amanda Lipitz

Producer: Steven Cantor and Amanda Lipitz

Trailers

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