American Teen Review

February 28, 2009

Jake Tusing, Mitch Reinholt, director Nanette Burstein, Megan Krizmanich, Colin Clemens, Geoff Haase and Hannah Bailey at the Sky360 by Delta Lounge WireImage Portrait Studio on January 20, 2008 in Park City, Utah.

Reviewed By: Average Joe

Synopsis: This movie, which was apparently a hit at Sundance, follows the life of four high school seniors (from various cliques) from a small town in Indiana. The documentary shows their struggles, triumphs and the way they negotiate the trial and tribulations of being a teen and trying to transition to adulthood.

Review: There were truly some compelling aspects of this film, and most of us can probably relate to one of the characters, are at least some of the things they’re going through. It’s endearing at times, but it’s also a bit shallow and stereotypical for my tastes. I mean yeah, there’s a geek, a princess, a rebel and a jock, and I think Burstein lets each of these kids slide smoothly into those categories without getting to their core.

I did enjoy the imaginative animation that added a little depth (or at least a change of pace) to the story. I thought that these were intuitive looks into the lives of these kids, but again, the entirety of the movie isn’t that intuitive.

There were aspects of the film, that in the back of my head I wondered if they were staged, and other times when I think I was supposed to feel sympathy, but I didn’t.

Just because your parents are pushing you to get into Notre Dame doesn’t mean you have to be a complete bitch to everyone around you. I found the “geek” and the “rebel” to be the most interesting characters and would’ve loved to learn more about what makes them tick, why the “heart throb,” doesn’t want to endure his new, intriguing relationship anymore aside from peer pressure.

What this movie really is, at the end of the day, is sad. And I guess that’s okay, because as I understand it a lot of people have similar high school experiences. Everyone is trying to find themselves, but unfortunately Burstein doesn’t find the depths of what these kids and that’s why the film fell a little short for me.

Review: 6.4

Recommendation: I want you to watch this film and decide for yourself because if you’re like me, you’ll be feeling like you got sold a little short, but you will have turned the lens on your own life and thought real events significant to you. I think you’ll find something to cling to that resonates here, and if nothing else, that Hannah chick is pretty interesting, and that Megan girl needs a good slap in the face.

P.S. I also wanted to know more about Hannah’s best guy friend, and Megan’s guy-friend who kind of dates her best friend. They seemed like pretty interesting people that didn’t necessarily fall into a “category.”