Inspirational in the best sense of the term, “Legacy” merits wide circulation in fest and commercial venues prior to pay cable showcase. Indeed, some sort of corporate sponsorship might be sought to expedite nontheatrical exposure for Todd S. Lending’s intelligently uplifting nonfiction feature.
Filmed over six years, the polished documentary follows the near-miraculous ascent of an economically deprived African-American family following a devastating tragedy. “Legacy” exists primarily because Lending and his crew were in the right place at the wrong time: During their first day of filming another pic in a notorious Chicago housing project, 15-year-old honor student Terrell Collins was fatally shot by a classmate outside his home. Instead of simply grieving for Terrell, other members of the Collins family — long locked in a cycle of poverty and welfare — honor the boy’s memory by using his death as a source of inspiration. “Legacy” celebrates the uphill battles and small triumphs as a grandmother becomes a homeowner for the first time, a single mother kicks a drug habit and finds steady work, and Nickole, Terrell’s cousin and the pic’s narrator, beats long odds and heads to college.