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Teenage (2014)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 57
Fresh: 44 | Rotten: 13

Using a smartly assembled blend of archival footage and well-made re-enactments, Teenage surveys the rise of adolescent culture with tenderness and wit.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 4

Using a smartly assembled blend of archival footage and well-made re-enactments, Teenage surveys the rise of adolescent culture with tenderness and wit.



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,289

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Movie Info

Once, 'Teenagers' didn't exist. But then, they were invented. With a changing tide the world over and a struggle erupting between adults and youth, the concept of a new generation took shape. Whether in America, England, or Germany, whether party-crazed Flappers or hip Swing Kids, zealous Nazi Youth or frenzied Sub-Debs, it didn't matter - they were all a new idea of youth. They were all 'Teenagers.' TEENAGE is a living collage of rare archival material, filmed portraits, and voices (provided by


Documentary, Special Interest

Jon Savage, Matt Wolf

Sep 9, 2014


Oscilloscope Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (57) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (13)

A roughly chronological jumble of archival footage, unconvincing period reenactments, gauzy voice-overs, and half-baked ideas that makes one yearn for the stolid dullness of a History Channel documentary.

May 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Deftly weaves together various media in a way that breathes its own youthful, stream-of-conscious life into the documentary genre.

May 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's no "there" there in "Teenage," a meandering mess of a documentary that has the feel of a bloated, inchoate term paper.

May 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wolf's sympathy for youth movements compensates for the distraction of the new scenes, and the fascinating old footage seals the deal.

April 24, 2014 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If Teenage delivers a sweeping generalization or two (or three) ... Wolf's documentary makes up for it with footage that's just too good to be ignored.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Director Matt Wolf uses startling archival footage to capture the rise of pre-Elvis youth culture as the defining surge of the 20th century.

March 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Filmmaker Matt Wolf's Teenage tracks the origins of modern youth culture through the early 20th Century, to intriguing but inconclusive results

August 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Under the Radar
Under the Radar

More well-crafted experience than historical chronicle, Teenage is an illustrative portrait of adolescence from the attempted point-of-view of those who first made sense of it

June 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Nonfics

It's a terrific distraction, but it ultimately leaves you unfulfilled.

May 23, 2014 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

"Teenage" does what a good documentary should: educate and entertain.

May 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Granted, the film's title is taken from Savage's book, but for a documentary which concludes that the teenager is all about the future, it spends too much of its time covering WWII. "Teenage" is a niche historical document.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Has moments that are quite intriguing, but, like a teenager, it can't seem to decide what it wants to be when it grows up.

May 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Columbus Alive
Columbus Alive

If by the end, a clear definition of the teenager hasn't emerged, that's cool. Teenagers don't know what they are either.

May 8, 2014 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto
NOW Toronto

Both informative and entertaining [though] less a straightforward cinematic argument than a dreamlike, multilevel evocation.

May 1, 2014 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

We were expecting a light-hearted, fact-filled look at the phenomenon of the "youth market" Western pop culture, but Matt Wolf's documentary is much more than that.

April 25, 2014 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

A stereotypical response to Teenage from today's attention span-deprived youth would be, "Ugh, whatever." They'd be right.

April 24, 2014 Full Review Source: RedEye

It's an unusual experience -- I kept waiting for what felt like an extended prologue to end and the movie to start -- but once it settles in, you're off on a cultural time-trip without a guide or a net.

April 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Oregonian

The archival footage is mesmerizing stuff, articulately edited by Joe Beshenkovsky.

March 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Wolf reveals himself to be a gifted and intuitive filmmaker, able to make academic connections that are still true to the depth of feeling attached to teenagedom -- of living very seriously, except when absolutely not.

March 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Wolf's film is still admirable, and aided by a pretty spot on score by Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox, Teenage feels both present and past.

March 21, 2014 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

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