High school can be Hell. Let’s face it, it never mattered who you were or what clique you were in, those four years could be the worst of your life. For years filmmakers have tried to capture the essence of being in high school and no film has been as successful as the documentary “American Teen.”
“American Teen” focuses on four different high school students in a small town in Indiana and the triumphs and tribulations they face over their senior year. You have Hannah (the artsy girl), Collin (the jock), Jake (the band geek), and Megan (the popular girl) and their different takes on high school. These kids are so unique that it is a breath of fresh air to see kids like this in the raw, so to speak. For so long we’ve been given crap like “Laguna Beach” so it is refreshing to see how teenagers truly act. This film is no-holds barred honest reality.
Of course, there were a few moments in the film that felt either forced or scripted, but that really wasn’t a consistent or glaring problem. The only thing I really didn’t like was how lengthy the animated segments were for each character. They looked good and seemed to suit all the teens, but they were overkill after a while.
Overall, the footage was well-shot and extremely candid. Nanette Burstein has put together a really well-rounded, comprehensive documentary. I never thought I’d care for the popular bitch-type girl, but the film was able to imbue even her with humanity. Suffice it to say I was hooked on this movie.
Never has a film captured the spirit of being a teenager better. To be honest with you, it hurt to watch it at times since it brought me back to my own drama-filled experiences in high school. If you are sick of seeing teens in crap like “The O.C” and “Laguna Beach” then you should watch this dose of true reality.