WE GROWN NOW – Review by T. J. Callahan

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We Grown Now: “Don’t you forget us.”

We Grown Now follows Malik and Eric, two young boys and best friends, navigating life in the infamous, crime-infested Cabrini-Green housing project in 1992 Chicago. They have desires and dreams and wisdom beyond their years as they try to spread their wings to soar above their mundane existence until a tragedy shakes the community, puts their parents on edge and changes their lives forever.

Despite their living conditions, We Grown Now shows us it’s the people who make the place and writer/director, Minhal Baig develops that concept believably and beautifully. She has woven a story of truth and injustice with love and respect. The thoughtful camera work that casts hope through the shadows. The stellar performances from S. Epatha Merkerson, Jurnee Smollett (who also executive produces) and Lil Rel Howery deserve accolades.

But it’s the little buddies, Blake Cameron James and Gian Knight Ramirez, interpretation of Malik and Eric, that exude warmth and optimism and elicit sympathy. To tell you the truth, I felt all the emotions watching this film…and I think you will too.

We Grown Now is courageous and encouraging. It’s poignant and innocent. Not a reality show, but an excellent portrayal of real life without overdoing the reel life. Sure, all the box office blockbuster action adventure movies entertain us with cheers and jeers and wide-eyed wonder, but We Grown Now hits us in the heart and whispers in our ear, “Don’t be afraid to fly.”
Rated PG, We Grown Now won the Changemaker Award when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2023. The drama’s 95 minute runtime is definitely worth YOUR time. I give it a 10 out 10 stars.

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T. J. Callahan

Texas Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the Marconi Award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT in Houston to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for Houston Radio Platinum and 101 Gold , Southern New Mexico's favorite radio station. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and The Sam Malone Show on KNTH in Houston. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her Friday and Saturdays on houstonradioplatinum.com and on Friday afternoons on the Leslie T. Travis Show on KVLC FM in Las Cruces. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association and the Houston Film Critics Society. She truly believes everything in life is one degree of Blazing Saddles.