On the Outs


It’s one thing to know in your head why people starved of options turn to crime and drugs. It’s another to see the tragedy laid out in front of you, with the haunted logic of circumstance, the way it is in On the Outs, a starkly honest and affecting dramatic feature directed by Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik. Set in Jersey City, the movie intertwines the lives of three teenage girls all gasping for air. What’s devastating is the way that each is held responsible for her fate. When Marisol (Paola Mendoza), a crack addict, loses her 2-year-old daughter to the bureaucratic foster-home/adoption machine, her howl of agony scalds your soul, yet our sorrow carries a cautionary shudder of judgment. The other characters are 15-year-old Suzette (Anny Mariano), who is caught by the cops holding a gun for the scoundrel who got her pregnant, and Oz (the marvelous Judy Marte), a drug dealer whose tough-as-the-boys cockiness breaks down after she watches her mother succumb to addictive demons. On the Outs parses the hopes and terrors of blasted lives with an empathy that never cheapens into pity. The movie wounds as much as it heals, and that’s its true power.

On the Outs
  • Movie
  • 81 minutes