Teenage movie poster

The lessons on display in this captivating adult look back at an eruption of youth make it a must-see for parents of kids who think their generation cooked up teen angst. Using punk author and co-scripter John Savage’s best-seller, Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture, as a springboard, British filmmaker Matt Wolf combines period photographs, diary entries, educational propaganda, home movies, and last (and certainly least), dramatic recreation to document the invention and subsequent rise of that time-honored consumer cash cow, the American teenager. From Robert Baden-Powell’s boy scout manifesto that helped pave the way for Das Hitler Jugen, jerky, shell-shocked vets pointedly intercut with a flapping Ruby Keeler, and “Victory Girls” begetting bobbysoxers, Teenage charts a four-decade panacea of pop culture that culminates with the arrival of the first youth marketing boom that hit towards the tail-end of World War II. Wolf’s period mockups of various real-life personas are no match for the truth, but in this case, content outweighs form. 2013.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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