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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    This is a whistle stop tour that leaves you wanting more.
  6. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Apr 24, 2014
    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
    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
    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
    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
    A clever assemblage of archival and historical material that unfortunately doesn't quite go far enough.
  11. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    May 22, 2014
    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
    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
    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
    Like adolescence itself, Teenage is educational, scattered, and over much too quickly.
  15. Reviewed by: Diego Costa
    Mar 14, 2014
    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
    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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