I’ve wanted to see this movie for a while, the poster had me all smitten before everyone in the world that I respect fell in love with it themselves. It’s interesting then that after I got hold of a copy I couldn’t bring myself to watch it at first, in case it wasn’t the kind of awesome I needed it to be.
Luckily I put it on this evening and it made everything better.
The midwestern high school setting and thus the sports obsession was reminiscent of Klosterman’s novel, Downtown Owl. But that was where similarities ended, none of the snippy snarkiness that usually inhabits anything created in the last 15 years was here. Instead there was an honesty and sincerity that you can only get away with using when you’re a teen and all everything feels more than it ever will again.
American Teen makes you remember what it was like to be that age – with your whole life laid out ahead of you – in the way that certain 3 minute pop songs can, but movies rarely do. Director Nannette Burnstein deftly handles the 5 protagonists and explores the very typecasts John Hughes forever set in our brain. Here we get a taste of what would have happened if Alison and Andy had dated after detention, if your heart really does die when you grow up, and how being a geek doesn’t really change decade to decade.
If you’re ever feeling confused as an adult, watch this movie and remember how daunting life once seemed. The downside of all of this, is obviously, that life once seemed epic and full of promise and a place where dreams could come true. This movie will help you remember that part as well.