“GOLDIE”— An Urban Coming-of-Age Story

 

“GOLDIE”

An Urban Coming-of-Age Story

Amos Lassen

In the eyes of her little sisters Sherrie and Supreme, Goldie (Slick Woods) is a star. Her big break awaits and she’s just got to pick up that golden fur coat she wants. She needs to land a role as a dancer in a hip-hop video and keep child welfare services from separating her from Sherrie and Supreme, now that their mother is locked up. But holding onto those dreams isn’t easy when there are so many obstacles in her path. Dutch director Sam de Jong brings us a very real New York film that is both raw and glamorous, realistic and relentlessly optimistic. It is also filled with heart and attitude. 

Instagirl fashion model Slick Woods plays Goldie, a streetwise Bronx teenager whose dream of making it big seems to be derailed by her mother’s arrest. Goldie has been promised a featured role as a dancer in a music video for local rapper Tiny (A$AP Ferg). She needs to send in an audition tape first, so she shoplifts a skimpy yellow onesie and uses her preteen half-sisters Supreme (Jazmyn C. Dorsey) and Sherrie (Alanna Renee Tyler-Tompkins) to be her fangirl camera crew. However, problems begin almost immediately. Goldie gets fired from her discount department store job, has a fight with her mother’s drug-dealer boyfriend Frank (Danny Hoch) after pocketing his cash. Her mom, Carol (Marsha Stephanie Blake), is arrested on unspecified felony charges. Goldie is then forced to grab Supreme and Sherrie and flee the shelter where they’ve been staying since losing their home. She tries to prevent child services from taking her sisters and put into the system.

Goldie fights for her dreams. She lives on pizza slices and takes her sisters from one friend or family member to the next so they will have a sense of home. When she sees a yellow faux fur coat in a local store window, she fixates on it and becomes convinced that it will seal her stardom. She sells her mother’s stash of Oxycodone to smack-talking fly girl Princess (Angela Griszell),  to be able to buy the coat and then steals her blonde wig. Obstacles for Goldie appear everywhere including Frank trying to get his cash back and sleazy sexual opportunist Jose (Jose Fernandez) who tries to stiff her on a deal. Her father Richard (Gbenga Akinnagbe) is not the only one telling her that calling child services is her best option.

It’s easy to go along with her belief that she will make everything work and keep what remains of the family intact (at least for a while). It’s predictable, however, that reality affects Goldie’s plans, especially when the music video turns out to be an amateurish enterprise that looks like it is nothing more than a lousy payment.

As coming-of-age lessons go, there is not much new here. The writer-director is more interested in examining how self-motivation can create a force field of invincibility, even if there’s always someone waiting to step on and destroy it. That process takes on an almost mythical dimension when Goldie finally gets her version of a magic cloak, only to discover  that its powers are limited. When Goldie drops her bravado and reveals her vulnerability, the story becomes more than a reckless adventure. It segues in the moving final scenes into a sensitive depiction of a young woman’s first experience of the world of making adult decisions. There are flaws in the film but by mixing professionals with non-actors in a milieu that is grounded in street life but with the alternate reality of fabulousness and fame that Goldie struggles to keep alive in her head, we see that the film’s charms outweighs what is lacking.                                

Slick Woods brings out the vulnerability and transforms Goldie’s story into a poignant coming of age drama. Director De Jong brings energy to a social realist scenario  but this is Slick Woods’ film. She has the looks, the moves and is filled with self-confidence.  Goldie is no saint. She shoplifts, deceives, steals money and does whatever necessary to survive. It is her unwavering determination and concern for her sisters that make her such an engaging figure. The strength of Slick Woods’ performance is in the way she finds plaintive grace beneath the brash, sassy confidence of her exterior. She brings out the vulnerability in Goldie’s tireless spirit and transforming Goldie’s story into a poignant look at coming of age.

BONUS PROGRAMMING

  • Bonus Short Film– We Love Moses (Directed by Dionne Edwards | United Kingdom | 15 minutes ) — When Ella was twelve, she discovered sex. Now eighteen, Ella reflects on how her obsession with her older brother’s best friend, Moses, left her with a secret she still carries.

 About Film Movement

Founded in 2002, Film Movement is a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide including the Oscar-nominated films Theeb (2016) and Corpus Christi (2020). Film Movement’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci, Ettore Scola and Luchino Visconti. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com. Visit www.filmmovementplus.com for more information about Film Movement Plus, the new subscription streaming service from Film Movement.

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