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1 rating: 5.0
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Director: Steve James
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: March 28, 2003
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Stevie

Dark and Wonderful

  • Nov 1, 2004
  • by
Pros: Excellent story line, well filmed

Cons: Disturbing, dysfunction in American heart land

The Bottom Line: A solid documentary about family dysfunction, loss and mental illness and humanity.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.

Why do I love documentaries so much?

It's because they are real, gritty and never have the "Hollywood" ending. They leave loose ends and generally raise more questions than they ever answer.

They are often low budget and can't rely on studio tricks or wizardy but instead focus on the compelling story line.
Steven James does just that with his 2003 documentary "Stevie".

Steven James was a "Advocate Big Brother" during his graduate school days to a disturbed younger boy who had been labeled "troubled" by more than one authority. A throw away child, given up by his mother, never knew his father, spent time in a variety of foster parents until he finally grew up.

Steven James takes the audience on a guilt inspired trip down memory lane to see whatever happened to Stevie Fielding his charge of more than a decade ago.

From here this 140 minute film goes from bad to worse. Stevie has grown into a wild tangle of a man (who is more of a child than a man). Chronically unemployed, uneducated he lives where ever he can - usually with his decrepit grandmother. Stevie is violent, abusive, borderline retarded and comes with a lot of baggage. His alcoholism and penchant for marijuana do not help his situation.

Meet his clearly retarded but lovable fiance and his long suffering mother and sister. Spend some time with Stevie to see how he spends his days and what his life has amounted to.

The high of the film is where the habitually arrested and in trouble Stevie allegedly molests an 8 year old girl.
Stevie is alternately hostile and defiant while crying in some quiet times. His rage at the world and his upbrining is disturbing.

The end of this is the jail house interview with Stevie - unrepentent to the end. Sentetnced to 10 years, he squanders any time off due to constant jail house violations.

What brought Stevie to this - a lack of a home, lack of love, lack of guidance, lack of self discipline or are some of just plain "bad seeds" with no hope of redemption.

Excellent techniques over a five year period of interview with Stevies family, circle of friends, former foster parents and acquaintances. Steven James introduces Stevie to his wife and children - although he quickly sends his young children out of earshot of Stevie's violent rantings.

A gripping look at a life wasted. Bleak but illuminating.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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