Trailer: 17 Girls

I’m a bit surprised that a French movie studio is behind a movie about the real life events in Gloucester, Mass. where 17 high school girls got pregnant. It was a crazy story at the time in 2008 because the initial story was that the girls made a pregnancy pact at 16 to all get knocked-up and live in a big house and take care of their kids together.

The real story was — as is always the case — far less interesting than the fictitious one invented by the media.

The media got the story mostly wrong. There was no pact, but there were 18 girls in the high school who were pregnant, which was somewhat above the average number for a given year.

To Grieco’s credit, she decided to “hear” as much as she could about the true story behind the spate of pregnancies. She interviewed almost half the girls who had become pregnant (of the 18, six chose to have abortions), some of their parents, and the high school health educators. She quickly found a troubling truth: the number of teen pregnancies at the high school was high, but it was pretty much what it had always been.

The girls who attended Gloucester were white. Grieco expanded her research to Lowell and Springfield, Mass., to tell the stories of pregnant minority teens to see if there were any similarities and differences within the populations. The themes were very much the same. Poverty and teen pregnancy often go hand in hand, and these three towns have experienced hard times during the last decade.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we get an American remake for the Lifetime Channel on this one.

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