All of Us | 2008
In the South Bronx, a young doctor embarks on a research project to find out why black women are being infected with the HIV virus at an alarming rate. Dr. Mehret Mandefro takes us into the lives and relationships of two of her female patients, Chevelle and Tara, as they identify and struggle with the social factors that put them at risk. Chevelle, abandoned by her family as a teenager, became addicted to drugs and dependent on sex with men to get attention and cash. When we meet her, she's been clean for a year and is striving for financial independence. Tara suffered sexual abuse for much of her life and resorted to sex work to survive. Her current boyfriend is pressuring her for sex even though she is undergoing a series of invasive surgeries for cervical cancer. Despite her frail condition, Tara works to overcome her fear of saying no and gains new confidence along the way. As Chevelle and Tara strive for more power in their lives and relationships, Mehret expands her research to include women across boundaries of race, class and country. She also begins to grapple with these extremely personal themes as they appear in her own life. A visit to Ethiopia, her birthplace, and candid conversations with her privileged girlfriends in New York, yield a startling realization: heterosexual women across the continents face a dangerous power imbalance in the bedroom. When she lets her hair down, steps out of her doctor's role, and confesses her own weaknesses, even this Harvard trained physician sounds just like one of us.