The premiere of a documentary film called "The Gloucester 18" at Cambridge's Kendall Square Cinema last night debuted the third film exploring the 2007-2008 spike in Gloucester High School pregnancies, which thrust the city into the global spotlight over allegations of a "pregnancy pact."
And for many residents, that's two films too many.
But "The Gloucester 18" — directed by John Michael Williams and produced by Kristen Grieco, the former Gloucester Daily Times reporter who broke the story in March 2008 — delivers some important messages.
It steers clear of politics spotlighted in a 2009 British documentary, "Eighteen Pregnant Schoolgirls," aired by BBC America. And thankfully, it avoids the shameful sensationalism that turned Lifetime Networks' "The Pregnancy Pact" into an embarrassing mix of fact and fiction that did the city and all of its young people a downright disservice.
Instead, "The Gloucester 18" shows — sometimes painfully — the girls and their families talking about their pregnancies, and, in many cases, the birth of their new families. So we see, as former Gloucester High School health clinic chief Dr. Brian Orr notes, "the true spectrum of what happens in teen pregnancy."
A couple of the young families come across as stable and oozing with hope, but "The Gloucester 18" is not an easy watch. Then again, neither is teen pregnancy. That's the point of the film — and the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, which sponsored last night's premiere, is emphatically endorsing the film.
It a film that deserves to be seen — and one that should be shown and seen in Gloucester. Let's hope that happens before this film — and this important community issue — truly fades.