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American Teen (2008)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
For some strong language, sexual material, some drinking and brief smoking--all involving teens
Hannah Bailey, Colin Clemens, Megan Krizmanich, Mitch Reinholt, Jake Tusing
American Teen (2008)
The touching and hilarious Sundance hit that follows the lives of five teenagers - a jock, a popular girl, a heartthrob, an artsy girl and a geek – in one small town in Indiana through their senior year of high school. We see the insecurities, the cliques, the jealousies, the first loves and heartbreaks, and the struggle to make profound decisions about the future.
American Teen (2008) | Review
Reaching Towards the Future
As we follow the young adults through the course of the movie, we witness all manner of high school drama and daily life. There are breakups and there are makeups. There are secrets and there are rumors. There are breakdowns and there are confessions. There are moments when dreams are fulfilled, and hours that seem like there is not even a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
But of all the events that unfold and every change in plans that takes place, what I found most interesting was each teen's hopes and dreams for themselves, their lives, and their futures. In some ways, they were difficult to listen to—because I knew that they would never be fulfilled by merely one step off the graduation podium. In other ways, they were hopes that I identified with—some that I once felt, and many that I still feel today. And frankly, even though the five subjects were teens, I couldn't help but feel that their struggles as well as their dreams were just as universal as anyone else's out there.
While Colin Clemens (the Jock) actually seems the most sure and confident of the teens, he struggles nonetheless. He knows he's a good basketball player, he knows that's what he wants to do in college, and he knows he can do it; the problem is that circumstances are telling him that he cannot. His family doesn't have the money to send him to college, and so the burden is on him. The key to his success is in his own hands. His future is his own to determine. Nice message when it's more the rags-to-riches fairytale variety, but as we see with Colin, it can also be a difficult one. For Colin, it actually deteriorates his game. And only when he begins to play with the recognition of the teammates there to help him does he get his game back.
You see, the problem with believing that our actions alone are the key to our success is that we simply cannot achieve what we were destined for by ourselves. We are not perfect. We will fail. And we will get tired. But thankfully, we are not alone. We have friends and family to encourage us. And most of all, we will always have the God who created us, who gave us our talents, and who desires each of us to reach the brilliant futures before us more than anyone else.
Then, there's Megan (The Princess). Unlike Colin, she appears to have had much of her life handed to her on a silver platter. She seems to have always gotten everything she has ever wanted. But as her admission to Notre Dame hangs tenuously in the balance, we see that part of why she always gets her way may very well be because she feels like anything less would be a personal failure. It is a matter of who she is supposed to be, and making sure she lives up to those very expectations. But as her father puts it, the trouble is that it just isn't reasonable to expect our entire life to suddenly switch into some happily-ever-after mode based on any single achievement or accomplishment.
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