All This PanicCultureCinemaMovie reviews
All This Panic is a highly touching coming-of-age documentary that follows the lives of seven young girls growing up in New York City over a span of three years. It shows all the meaningful friendships and insecurities that come with being a teenager, as well as different types of families and how they unwittingly affect the lives and decisions of their offspring.
Using the least intrusive means possible, filmmakers Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton followed their subjects around the city with a handheld camera, capturing their deepest moments in a shockingly candid way – from drug use, to sex, to intimate conversations.
The movie begins by following Lena, a sensitive, hardworking girl who tries to pursue her dreams while her family falls apart. Meanwhile, her moody best friend Ginger faces her demons by watching everyone around her move on to college while she struggles to work on an acting career. Sage, one of the only African Americans in her school to get a scholarship and a cheeky, clever young woman to boot, finds it hard to stay on the academic track after the sudden death of her father. Other characters include the mature, rebellious Ivy, the introspective Olivia who worries that coming out as lesbian may lead to pigeonholing, and a younger, hopeful duo comprising Ginger’s younger sister Dusty and her friend Delia.
While confusing at first to grasp such a wide array of colourful characters, the film’s blurry disjointedness begins to make sense as the viewer gets to know every vibrant face and personality through Gage and Betterton’s radiant portraiture work, which brings out the inimitable beauty in every individual they shoot.
It is indeed a captivating and provocative subject matter to put into play the bodies and minds of such innocent yet nubile young women. The choice of camera angles is significant in showing the smallest tics that accompany their speech, the details of their trendy (and highly flattering) fashion choices, the youthfulness of their poses and gestures. Adolescence is indeed a fleeting moment in a girl’s life and it often shapes her into the woman that she will imminently become, and this movie captures the ephemera of those years with deep, respectful intimacy.
All This Panic is released nationwide on 24th March 2017.
Watch the trailer for All This Panic here: