Billed as a real-life, female version of Boyhood, the new documentary All This Panic, directed by Jenny Gage, follows a group of teenage girls in Brooklyn through three crucial years of their lives.
There’s Lena, a smart, awkward girl trying to live a normal teenage life while her family is struggling behind the scenes; Ginger, an aspiring but incredibly insecure actress; Sage, one of the few black girls in a mostly-white private school, who is grieving the recent death of her father; Olivia, who is coming to a realization about her sexuality; Ivy, a grown-up-beyond-her-years “cool girl”; and Dusty, Ginger’s younger sister who, with her friend Delia, stand in stark contrast to the older girls.
All This Panic manages to both show how huge small things can seem to teenagers — the title refers to the way the girls are feeling just before a new school year starts — and remind us that teenage girls really are dealing with some real, huge issues that should not be minimized by jokes. At various points, the documentary shows its subjects dealing with mental illness, racism, financial struggles, divorce, coming out, and grieving the loss of a parent, as well as sex, love, and the closeness and sometimes toxicity of close female friendships.
Beautifully shot — the girls’ constantly-changing hair colors are often a focal point — All This Panic is a quiet, often-heartbreaking reminder of what it’s like to be a teenage girl.
All This Panic opens on March 31st in New York at the IFC Center and April 14th in Los Angeles, with a national rollout to follow.
Photos by Tom Betterton, from All This Panic
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Erika W. Smith is BUST's digital editorial director. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @erikawynn and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.