This uplifting story of a school step dance team on the verge of graduation won director Amanda Lipitz a Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at Sundance.
Blessin, Cori, Taylor and the 'Lethal Ladies' team at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women have two goals: get accepted into college and win the Bowie State step competition. A tough ask, as they've been on a losing streak and studies aren't going well. The devoted teachers and no-nonsense coach encourage the girls every which way, but thriving in this low-income community is beyond tough. Lipitz started filming against a backdrop of riots following a black death in custody; racial inequality permeates the lives of these African-American seniors. Despite this, Step proves vibrantly entertaining, not least for the full-on step moves – just check out the Black Lives Matter routine!
Warm, funny, unselfconscious and unfailingly real in their insecurities as well as their apprehensions about the adult world they're preparing to navigate, these young women paradoxically seem even more vulnerable having spent almost seven years in an uncommonly nurturing environment. – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
Without becoming expressly political, Step stands as a firm rebuttal to rampant misunderstandings about both the Black Lives Matter movement and life in poor urban areas. There's no need to shoehorn any of that material into the story; it's all seamlessly a part of the time Lipitz has captured. – Geoff Berkshire, Variety