A new film by Minhal Baig tells the story of two boys coming of age in Cabrini-Green.

Set against the backdrop of a troubled time and place, We Grown Now focuses on Malik and Eric, their friendship, and the small moments that make up their childhood. They might be in elementary school, but they live life to the fullest, jumping from mattress towers, playing outside, and skipping school to explore the city.

Malik and Eric are surrounded by poverty, violence, and other bitter realities of the community they call home. Both live with single mothers – Jurnee Smollett powerfully plays Malik’s mom Dolores, striving to give her family what they need despite challenges, while Lil Rel Howery shines as Eric’s dad Jason, a caring man struggling with his own grief.

When a young boy in the area is shot, the two young friends cannot avoid the harsh realities of their surroundings. The uptick in police presence after the shooting forces Dolores to reevaluate her family’s situation. Malik doesn’t take the surrounding dangers seriously enough and Eric takes the world too seriously. As their world changes, the two friends must reconcile what it means to call their home a home.


 

Built in the late 1940s to provide housing for workers during the war, by 1992 Cabrini-Green fell into disrepair as society failed those living there. Once a place where Black families came looking for a fresh start, the area is now dilapidated, dangerous, and over-policed. Despite the challenging environment, we learn that what creates community are the people who support each other despite hardships.

A moving and insightful period drama, We Grown Now also stars S. Epatha Merkerson, Avery Holliday and Ora Jones. This gentle and dignified movie crafts a moving portrait of resilience against systemic injustice.

 

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