Let’s be honest, I knew nothing about teenage girls when I was a teen, let alone now. The moral panic around their sexualisation, drug use, underage drinking and ‘relentless’ sex seems to all come from a snobbish older generational view. There’s next to no coverage, either in films or on TV, of what teenagers actually think or do. That’s not the case in Jenny Gage’s documentary All This Panic, which gives us a rare glimpse into their lives, hopes and fears.
Shot over a three-year period, All This Panic follows a group of teenage girls in Brooklyn through their coming-of-age until the cusp of adulthood. What Gage and Thomas Betterton (Director of Photography) manage to achieve is to provide a rare glimpse into the secret world of teenage girls. They just let the girls talk. There’s no major traumas or scandals. Just their fears, neurosis, hopes and expectations.
All This Panic is a surprisingly fascinating documentary. I’m not sure how they managed to put everyone so at ease, but the conversations just seem to flow. And this is why it works so well as a documentary. These are everyday conversations, much of which parents might never hear. These are just teenagers trying to find their way in life. Work out who and what they want to be. Not to mention confused about sex and relationships. All This Panic is an enthralling film which, if nothing else, demonstrates that there’s nothing much for parents to worry about.
All This Panic is released by Dogwoof in cinemas from Friday.