Last weekend I went to the movies to see American Teen, a documentary filmed in 2006 about the senior class of a small mid-Western town. Now this film has been out in America for awhile but it didn’t set the world alight. The director was accused of setting up some of the action by the audience. To be honest I really don’t care, it’s a great film, documentary or not. What is essential is that these kids are feeling these emotions and going throught an awful lot.
High school was hard. What this film reminded me of was exactly how hard it was and continues to be.
I personally loved that the director, Nanette Burstein, chose to find the Breakfast Club archetypes and follow them for 10 months. (If you haven’t seen The Breakfast Club then you are sorely missing out on 80s teen-bliss). We have our villain in The Princess (Megan) who has reasons for being the way she is. The Jock, Colin is suffering under the pressure of securing a basketball college scholarship or shipping out with the army. Jake The Nerd, acne ridden and socially inept, this guy just wants a girlfriend. Mitch, The Heartthrob, an unfair title but the boy is totally hot but definitely has the most insight into his class. And finally there is The Rebel, Hannah, the undoubted star of the movie. She is the classic Sarah Dessen protagonist in my mind. I love her…seriously.
American Teen isn’t out on DVD yet in the States but I suggest you rent it as soon as it is. It has drama, romance, highs and lows and some of the unexpected but more importantly these are real people in their last year of high school. Warts and all.