by Xavier Toby in New Film on Tuesday 29 July 2008

This entertaining documentary follows a group of seemingly clichéd American teenagers in their last year of high school. Through a comprehensive recording of their lives it reminds us that, when examining anything in detail, there is no such thing as a cliché. The naivety and hope of each student shines through, providing a memorable and accurate portrait of a middle-American high school. Director Nanette Burstein and her team must have spent thousands of hours recording to get the chosen subjects, their friends and families to act so naturally around the camera. Burstein has captured some amazing moments, both surprisingly funny and honest. The parents of the teenagers chosen for analysis provide some of the most shocking comments, such as Colin’s Elvis impersonator father reminding him that, ‘If you don’t get a scholarship, there’s always army’ or Hannah’s mother who says, ‘Don’t forget, you’re not special’.