Choir Girl – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 35 minutes
Photographer, Eugene takes pictures of the deplorable actions happening in his neighborhood, like overdosing children, assaults, and prostitution. He goes to see Julius with the hope his magazine will sell his photos, but Anne, Julius’s assistant, refuses Eugene first. She thinks his pictures are voyeurism and exploitation, not journalism. At home, his father begs for a new oxygen tank. While it’s a week too early, Eugene goes to the hospital pharmacy to get a new one. After getting the tank, Eugene walks home and hears a noise in an alleyway. He follows the noise and sees a girl forced to take drugs while another girl lies beside her intoxicated. Eugene grabs his camera and takes pictures. As the shutter snaps, the girl looks directly into the camera. Eugene runs away and develops the photos. He sends the images to the magazine and gets nowhere again. So he calls, and the receptionist forwards him to Polly. Polly loves his pictures and wants to meet him at a bar to discuss more. Eugene explains he doesn’t know the girl, and he is not a stalker, but he wants to help her. Then, use the profits to buy a house. Polly tells Eugene she needs more images and Eugene will have a sit-down meeting in the morning, so he goes back to the alleyway. He sees a large guy dragging the girl out of the building and to the hospital. At the hospital, Eugene fakes a heart attack to get near the girl. He shoots more pictures and helps her escape. Out of the hospital and away from the enforcer, the girl tells Eugene her name is Josephine. She wants to leave, but her pimp, Daddy, won’t let her. And when she tried to escape in the past, the police brought her back. To make matters complex, she is illegal. Eugene offers her a place to stay to keep her out of the reach of Daddy. Josephine doesn’t think it will work, but she is willing to give it a try. The next morning, Eugene meets with Polly, Anne, and Julius. Anne still has reservations about the pictures, but Julius wants to publish them. However, they want to make sure Josephine is ok with having the photos published in their magazine. Polly says everything is fine, and Eugene is happy to get the work and expose Daddy. As Polly and Eugene leave, he sees a van pull up. Two men pull him into the vehicle and put a bag over his head. Soon, he is face to face with Daddy. Daddy found Eugene because Eugene dropped one of his photos at the hospital. Daddy wants Eugene to bring Cherry, also known as Josephine, back to him. Or Eugene must pay him $20,000 in a week. To show they are serious, they killed his father. So killing Eugene is child’s play. Eugene explains he doesn’t have any money and has not made money from his pictures. Daddy reminds Eugene he has a stream of income, Josephine. He can prostitute her for the money. How far will Eugene go or make Josephine go for her freedom? Can they trust each other, or will a hero’s fame come between them?
Choir Girl is a very hard-hitting and, at times, hard-to-swallow movie. It delves into the dark world you only hear about in rap music and doesn’t hold back from the horror. As Eugene deals with the moral dilemma of putting Josephine in the same situation he is attempting to save her from, you wonder is he doing it for her or himself. He says it’s to free Josephine, but he still wants to get the photos published to earn money for a new home. Then you start to question Josephine’s motives, too. She seems horrified to have her pictures published, but eagerly sits in front of a camera to expose everyone. Sexual assault victims, be warned, there are extremely tough scenes to watch in this movie, and it could trigger PTSD. With a compelling storyline, it will make you think of what you would do or would want someone to do if you were in their shoes.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
They’re good. They’re confronting – Polly
I think I might have something – Eugene
You’re a man, a good man. But still a man – Josephine
I’m a mother, I want to know why you took these images at all – Anne
I said a few bloody questions, not the whole Spanish Inquisition – Julius
What do you want with my Cherry – Daddy