American Teen (2008)

High school is a place of both joy and misery

Director: Nanette Burstein

Cast: Jake Tusing, Mitch Reinholt, Colin Clemens, Megan Krizmanich, Hannah Bailey

Genre: Documentary

Type: Independent (America)

Running Time: 95 minutes


So you may have remembered me posting earlier about how I was going to write a review about a documentary. I chose this one as my first to write about because high school is a universal and often painful topic that everyone can relate to because we have all been through it at one point or another.

American Teen is a documentary about that vital senior year in high school for a selected group of individuals attending a high school in a small town in Indiana. Each individual fits into a different social group.Personally, Hannah was my favourite. You’ve got your popular girl, your nerdy guy, your athletic guy and your ‘inbetweens’. Do you remember what you were in high school? I’m pretty sure I’ve gone through all social groups possible and maybe even invented my own.

This documentary actually addressed the sexting issue long before MTV. I actually cried when the issue arose because of the way people were treating the girl who sexted. They called her phone leaving disgusting messages and ostracized her at school. The popular girl (Megan) actually sent the email of the girl’s sext to EVERYONE, and laughed as she did it. Wow. It bothers me that she still got accepted to the university of her choice (and a good one too), despite the way she treated people. What the hell happened to Karma man?! We really have to be careful as children of the age of technology, because like celebrities, nothing is private anymore. Your pictures, a text you send a friend, an email. Once it’s out there, it’s technically not even yours any more. It sucks. It really does. So if anything, this is my warning to everyone to be careful about the stuff you are putting out there on the internet! You don’t want your future-boss to pull out a picture of you getting absolutely wasted and wild at a party a few years back in the middle of your hopeful interview, do you?

The ups and downs of love were also explored (ah, heartache), as was the battle between chasing after what you really want to do with your life and going to school where your parents want you to. These topics were particularly explored in Hannah’s case. She even ended up hanging out with a guy called Mitch, who was in the popular group. He liked her too. Of course, until his friends didn’t accept her. Typical.

The Long and Short: I really enjoyed this because it gives us multidimensional perspectives from different types of people. Who would have guessed the cool athletic guy actually has things to worry about? Apparently he does, though. He really does. I just hate the title though. Seriously, it’s not just ‘American’ teens that go through the hell that is high school. *cough- Secret Life of the American Teenager* So, to the filmmakers out there planning on making either movie or TV show about teens, keep that in mind.

My Recommendation: Check it out if this is your sort of thing. I think if you liked ElephantThirteen, or The Breakfast Club (yes, I know none of these are documentaries, but American Teen has the same flow!) then this might just float your boat.

Favourite Scene: Hannah off on the West Coast pursuing her dreams.

Verdict:  B


One thought on “American Teen (2008)

  1. I liked this movie a lot. I loved when the archetypal “nerdy” kid leaned his head on the table, and then remarked at the grease stains left by forehead. It was such an honest moment that you would never think to include in a movie. & I was a huge Hannah/Mitch fangirl, but alas… this is real life, and not really a movie….

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