The Girl with Brains in her Feet
Year of release: 1997
Directed by: Roberto Bangura
Jackie Jones, a thirteen-year-old teenager of mixed racial origin, is growing up in Leicester in 1972 with her single white mother, who is rather too preoccupied with her own unhappy life to show any interest or affection towards her teenage daughter. When Jackie's sports teacher at school notices that her potential to become an athlete, her life promises to change for the better.
The sports teacher encourages her to develop her talent ("you've got brains in your feet") and buys her the red trainers her mum refused to purchase. Yet when she meets a handsome blond boy, several years older than herself, and loses her virginity to him, her life is getting complicated and Jackie breaks down on the race track during the all important race.
However, the mother-daugher relationship is improving, possibly because the mother begins to recognise herself (and her own mistakes) in her daughter. At last the mother talks about Jackie's father and shows her a photo of him. The film concludes with her mother's wedding to a white lover of hers but remains vague as to whether Jackie is actually pregnant and what she is going to do about it.
The film's 'happy end' is highly problematic. The construction of the nuclear family is implicitly regarded as the salvation to all problems in particular that of single motherhood.