American Teen

DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 42min

DIRECTED BY: Nanette Burstein

Rebel blues: Hannah

If Warsaw, Indiana, is a “typical midwestern town”, then with its cliques and divisions, the senior years of Warsaw Community High is a textbook sociological case. Hannah’s break-up with her boyfriend Joel has plunged her into depression (“I feel completely crazy,” she laments with an unfettered honesty echoed by everyone who appears). Miss Popularity Megan is miffed and vengeful because her BF Geoff has fooled around. Colin is a star basketball player, under pressure from his father to secure a college sports scholarship.


Their shared constant is the intensity with which life comes at them, knowingly observed by documentarian Nanette Burstein’s camera, which documents the lot in all its raw and callow potency. We’ve met the likes of these kids a stack of times before. But so perceptive are Burstein’s impressions that watching them graduate is almost like farewelling family.