Like many similar documentaries, this 2002 feature doesn't present easy answers, but by letting the two girls register as individuals, it forces the viewer to care about them when few around them can be bothered.
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader, 2007-07-18
The trajectories of Shanae's and Megan's lives speak volumes for themselves.
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe, 2004-02-06
An eye-opening sociological examination that is alternately moving and tedious. Ultimately, however, one can't help but be caught up in the travails of its two memorable subjects.
Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter, 2003-11-14
While it is one part a coming-of-age story and one part a story of girls and mothers, Girlhood is just as much about the attainment of wisdom.
Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 2003-10-31
It shows a fascination with the criminal justice system, and amazing access to the people caught in its wheels.
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger, 2003-10-30
Filmed with levelheaded tenderness and often startling intimacy.
Gene Seymour, Newsday, 2003-10-29
Stephen Holden, New York Times, 2003-10-29
V.A. Musetto, New York Post, 2003-10-29
Garbus spent three years patiently mining for beauty in the ugliest of environments. The remarkable result stands as a challenge to anyone who would have seen only the worst and walked right by.
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News, 2003-10-29
Garbus's follow-up to 2002's The Execution of Wanda Jean provides another powerful glimpse inside the American justice system.
Laura Sinagra, Village Voice, 2003-10-28