Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by:  Gary M. Kramer
    Mar 13, 2014
    91
    This documentary is not a dry, academic history of youth culture, but rather a vibrant political statement that shows the powerful force of teenagers and their ability to foment social, cultural, and political change.
  2. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Mar 11, 2014
    80
    Cry foul, you documentary purists, but narration by Jena Malone and others pulls the gamble off. The film makes its point ingeniously.
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Mar 11, 2014
    80
    The old footage — newsreels, scraps of home movies — is entrancing, and even those familiar details eventually accrete with the fresh ones into something grand and stirring, especially near the conclusion.
  4. Reviewed by:  Ali Catterall
    Jan 21, 2014
    80
    A haunting, hypnotic collage of archive footage and period recreations charting the pre-history of the teenager.
  5. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Jan 21, 2014
    80
    This is a whistle stop tour that leaves you wanting more.
  6. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Apr 24, 2014
    75
    The resulting film is a rich mix of movements and cultural phenomena that occurred not only in the United States, but several European countries.
  7. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    Apr 3, 2014
    75
    There's a lot of ground to cover -- too much for a short documentary -- and Wolf goes past his boundaries for a quick, unnecessary glimpse of Sinatra, Vietnam, and some of what came after 1945.
  8. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Mar 11, 2014
    70
    Matt Wolf’s innovative documentary is a bracing reminder that the notion of adolescence as distinct from childhood and adulthood is a relatively modern phenomenon.
  9. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Mar 26, 2014
    67
    Teenage is an art film – an engrossing one at that – so it isn’t required to respect Queensberry rules vis-à-vis documentaries.
  10. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Mar 19, 2014
    67
    A clever assemblage of archival and historical material that unfortunately doesn't quite go far enough.
  11. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    May 22, 2014
    63
    Wolf — who wrote Teenage with Jon Savage, author of “Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture 1875-1945” — deftly weaves together various media in a way that breathes its own youthful, stream-of-conscious life into the documentary genre.
  12. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Mar 20, 2014
    60
    It can feel repetitive and oversimplified. Aesthetically, though, it has an aching, dreamlike pull, constructing a panoramic view of history through the prism of collective and personal memory.
  13. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Mar 13, 2014
    60
    A lot of intriguing ideas are floated in Teenage... But the film takes a point of view that leaves all of them underdeveloped.
  14. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Mar 13, 2014
    58
    Like adolescence itself, Teenage is educational, scattered, and over much too quickly.
  15. Reviewed by: Diego Costa
    Mar 14, 2014
    50
    It botches itself out of its own epic ambitions, an aesthetic slickness that seems to contradict, if not betray, its subject matter, and a maddeningly subdued critical spirit.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    May 22, 2014
    38
    Regrettably, it’s terrible poetry: 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.

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