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97 Ratings


Directed by Matt Wolf
United States, 2013


Teenagers did not exist before the 20th century. Not until the early 1950s did the term gain widespread recognition, but with Teenage, Matt Wolf offers compelling evidence that “teenagers” had a tumultuous effect on the previous half-decade.

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Teenage Directed by Matt Wolf
Wolf’s reliance on archival material is a refreshing alternative to the too-common use of talking heads in documentary filmmaking… However, the task of producing some kind of definite history of the 20th century from the point of view of teenagers is a thankless and unwinnable one. As a history of and by these figures of latent revolution, creativity, and youth, the film is marred by a rather linear sense of time, an awfully tame voiceover, and a very well-behaved sense of audio-visual poesis.
March 14, 2014
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From an aesthetic standpoint, Teenage can be suspect. That’s an actress playing British socialite Brenda Dean Paul, for instance, in anachronistic 8mm color footage. While Wolf’s seamless blend of real and fake images emphasizes the notion that history is a construct, it also renders the movie conceptually incoherent—the cinematic equivalent of a term paper whose author hasn’t assembled the necessary source material to craft a complete argument.
March 13, 2014
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Sometimes, the results are British bad girls twirling like Ke$ha in a pop video; Wolf’s creative license isn’t always valid. Yet a keening original score by Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox serves the same purpose that Cocteau Twins lullabies do in a Gregg Araki movie, lending this adolescence a sad ache.
March 11, 2014
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