American Teen intimately follows the lives of four teenagers in one small town in Indiana through their senior year of high school. Using cinema vérité footage, interviews, and animation, it presents a candid portrait of being 17 and all that goes with it. We see the insecurities, the cliques, the jealousies, the first loves and heartbreaks, the experimentation with sex and alcohol, the parental pressures, and the struggle to make profound decisions about the future.
Nanette Burstein returns to Sundance (On the Ropes won a Special Jury Prize at the 1999 Festival) with a film that is an incredible window into a time of development almost everyone can relate to. She filmed daily for 10 months, developing a remarkably close rapport with these students and their families. The kids open up in her presence and lay bare their lives. That exemplifies her incredible talent for storytelling and uncovering the many layers of truth in her subjects, creating a film that is astonishing from shooting to editing.
In American Teen, the stories coalesce into a narrative so engrossing that it resembles fiction more than documentary. The end result is a film that goes beyond the stereotypes of high school—the nerd and the jock, the homecoming queen and the arty misfit—to capture the complexity of young people trying to make their way into adulthood. —John Cooper/ history.sundance.org
Maybe a little bit artificial and shifty, however it turns to be a portrait of different kind of students who fell into doubts, fears and natural obstacles; the documentary tries to capture all of those moments showing how adversities can be overtaken. We can find some good ideas here and there but overall it's a simple and unpretentious doc about youth. OST is good though.
Easily the phoniest documentary I've ever seen, so staged and fabricated, it's a travesty to call it non-fiction cinema. And it's not even faked well. It's as if the filmmakers tried to find the most stereotypical teenagers in America, then shoved them through the most obvious melodrama imaginable, all told with a Baby Boomer's understanding of modern teen culture and social networking technology. An embarrassment.
Have you ever been catapulted head first into a brick wall at 150 mph? Now imagine that brick wall was high school, and imagine that catapult was American Teen.
Last night, I was instantly transported… read review