Directed by: Steve James
Stevie is a very powerful, eye-opening and thought provoking documentary. It was filmed in 1995 by Steve James, an award winning director/documentarian. Steve James was born in 1955 in rural Illinois. He is also the Director/Producer of a number of great documentaries such as Hoop Dreams, The New Americans and a great film we have recently watched in class The Interrupters. This 2002 documentary “Stevie” accounts the unfortunate events of a disadvantaged young man’s journey from boy to man, and the entire struggle in between. Mr. James was an advocate big brother in 1982 where he met a troubled young man named Steven Fielding’s. They would meet once a week as big brothers do, in which time they built a relationship. Years later the big brother contract had ended and Mr. James and Stevie had lost touch. Later on in life Mr. James developed feelings of guilt and that maybe he had abandoned Stevie. So he decided to return back to the town of Paloma, Illinois 10 years later, to chronicle the events of Stevie’s life. Steven Fieldings was born on March 18th, 1971 in Paloma, Illinois to Parents Bernice and step father Orville. He has a sister named Brenda who ends up being his social security payee and a vital part of his life in Illinois. Stevie suffered severe physical, emotional and sexual abuse in his child hood. He spent the first few years of his life in the care of his Mother and Step Father Oriville, whom up until Stevie was an adult thought was his biological father. His Mother Bernice was allegedly very rough and abusive with young Steven when he would “act up” or “talk back” as she puts it. Eventually young Steven was sent to live under the care and supervision of his Grandmother Verna Helger who cared and loved Steven dearly. His Grandmother was getting on in age and was unable to give Steven the care and attention he needed. In 1986 Stevie was given to the state for permanent placement in foster care. Stevie spent 10 years at Hubert’s boy’s home where he was cared for by Hal and Dolinda for 3 years. They did what they could with young Steven and he was finally receiving adequate love and supervision but eventually Hal got a job as a minister and left Hubert home. The next couple that took over Hubert’s Boys home was not as caring and compassionate as Hal and Dolinda were. Stevie suffered sexual, emotional and physical abuse at the Hubert Home. I believe these incidences in combination with the physical abuse he had already endured at the hands of his mother are the traumatic events that would have triggered his Mental Health issues. I would suggest based on research that Stevie suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and also some form of a Social Anxiety Disorder. The terrible events during Stevie’s childhood shaped and moulded this young man’s future. I don’t believe he had a fighting chance in life. During the movie he says to himself: “Where ever I go. Neither here nor there, trouble always follows me” (Steven Fieldings,“Stevie” 2002) Stevie never learned how to function properly in society and was abused from a very young age. I think a very large part of Stevies behaviour and the events of his life can be attributed to his Mother Bernice. I found her hard to listen to at times during the film. I found that she down played the fact that she abused her son and took no responsibility for reality that was his life. She justified her behaviour and put the blame on everybody else. In the end she was also the one that turned him into Police. Not to say that it wasn’t the right thing to do, but the fashion that she did it in showed that her love for Stevie is not what it should be, or what she claims it to be. She gives off the impression that she always loved Steven and that he is aware of this. She gives off this impression that its really no big deal that he is the way he is, and it’s almost like she blames him or that he brought all this on himself. I found that...
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