Teenage

"OK"

Teenage Review


Part documentary and part film essay, this movie mixes fact and fiction to explore the concept of the teenager, which didn't exist before World War II. It's fascinating to learn how the idea emerged, and how understanding it has fundamentally changed society. But the film remains resolutely superficial in its approach to history, only briefly dipping beneath the surface right at the very end.

Up until the early 20th century, Western society was made up of adults and children, with nothing in between. But child labour laws changed that, giving young people a taste of freedom and responsibility that became even more important during two world wars and the Great Depression. Rebellious attitudes surged in swing music, and even though adults balked at the idea of giving teens any real independence, the New York Times made it official in 1945 with the publication of a Teen-age Bill of Rights.

All of this is informative and interesting, but filmmaker Wolf interweaves the archival movies with footage he has created in a vintage style. And we can tell something isn't quite right: the character profiles are clearly fictionalised, which makes us wonder how much of the movie we can believe. It certainly doesn't help that these fake young people are token figures: a partying British socialite, a young black American, a member of the Hitler Youth. No matter how much they tell us about the times and places, they remain purely artificial creations.

The film's narration also feels oddly invented. Spoken in the voices of various teens, it catches our attention because it reflects aspects of life we can identify with, with variations of the youth experience over the years. But nothing here is remotely revelatory: throughout human history, adolescents have felt out of place, yearning for purpose in life and a sense of their own importance in the world. Oddly, Wolf never finds anything that suggests that "teenage" is a new concept at all. And his only intriguing discovery, that post-war teens started a rebellion that ran through the 1960s to Tienanmen Square, is only barely touched on even though it's the first original idea in the whole movie.



Teenage

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 78 mins

In Theaters: Monday 1st April 2013

Box Office USA: $19.5k

Distributed by: Oscilloscope Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 45 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Matt Wolf

Producer: Ben Howe, Kyle Martin

Starring: as Narrator, as Narrator, as Narrator, Jessie Usher as Narrator

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.