Monday, August 4, 2008

American Teen

Director Nanette Burstein spent a 1000 hours filming 5 teens in Warsaw Indiana, trying to capture the essence of the commonality of the adolescent to adult experience in the senior year of high school. These are real kids. And they have all hotly stated that they were NOT scripted, but were trying desperately to get out of high school and into college. If you had any angst or trauma in high school, you will remember it as you watch. There is the incredibly unlikeable "popular" over achiever and head bitch, Megan; the jock, Colin, being overwhelmed with the need for an athletic scholarship; the most socially inept and oblivious horndog nerdy boy you'll ever see- Jake; the cool guy who ditches a girl with a text message, Mitch; and a very cute girl who considers herself "different", when what she is really is a sweet and talented and spirited girl who is far more decent than the other girls at her high school- Hannah. It is absorbing. And really, universal. You KNOW these people and you KNOW these parents. But of all, it is Hannah, the creative and exhuberant girl, who is essentially motherless with an adorable grandma, who will earn your respect. And well, you will remember the girls from your high school (mine were named Vera, Lynette, Sandra and Lanier), who went to great lengths to make others miserable while acting as if it was "just a joke". Enjoy.