The ambitious and frank Lena attempts to forge her own path while dealing with her parents’ emotional and financial instability. Thanks to its dreamy, loose structure, All This Panic doesn’t include any real revelations about girlhood or growing up. In their new documentary, All This Panic, director Jenny Gage and cinematographer Tom Betterton attempt to bottle that feeling of adolescent uncertainty by following multiple Brooklyn girls over three years. Instead, it focuses more on the general feeling of adolescence: running barefoot across a beach, riding in the back of a car with the windows down, anxiously waiting for a high school party to start. Ginger’s wide-eyed younger sister Dusty and her best friend Delia are a few years younger, still trying to navigate high school but speaking frankly and thoughtfully about the pressures they find themselves facing. Ginger is more of a free spirit who decides to skip college to pursue an acting career, only to find herself living at home, unsure of what steps to take next. Together, all seven girls ruminate on sex, family, self-harm, ambition, and all of the many, many issues that come with being a teenage girl. The result is a pensive, gorgeous meditation on what it means to grow up. There’s a reason Hollywood loves a good coming-of-age story. Rounding out the group are two insightful young women you wish had more screen time: the quiet Olivia, who’s beginning to come to terms with her sexuality, and the outspokenly feminist Sage, the only African-American girl featured in the film. Gage and Betterton frequently shoot their young muses in extreme close-up, evoking an intimacy and a gauzy, girlish aesthetic that would make Sofia Coppola drool. B+
Show Full Article Post-high school, she starts spending time with Ivy, a driven young woman who’s decided to devote this point in her life to working hard and playing harder. High school automatically lends itself to drama, and there’s something uniquely relatable—and powerful—about the often rocky path from adolescence to adulthood. Mostly plotless but emotionally affecting, All This Panic has seven subjects in all, with best friends Lena and Ginger commanding most of the screen time.