Gabriele is a 17-year-old aspiring writer from Jacksonville, FL. She loves the wit of Charles Dickens, the smell of sharpened pencils, and the charm of coffee shops. She lives her life by a Benjamin Franklin quote: “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write the things worth reading or do the things worth writing.”
Billy the Kid, Hoop Dreams, Spellbound: All of these films have one thing in common—they’re real. Since the lives and situations are provocative and genuine, sometimes documentaries can be more compelling than fictional movies. Along with the preceding films above, here are a few more examples of gripping and entertaining documentaries to watch as a teen, with a teen, or as a parent.
1. The Bully Project: A Year in the Life of America’s Bully Crisis
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dVX0tWiG2E[/youtube]Though the film has not yet been released, The Bully Project has already been featured on The Dr. Phil Show and has made its mark on numerous schools around the country. Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, The Bully Project follows five teenagers throughout the course of a single school year. With stories of suicide and other real consequences of bullying, the film offers a fresh insight into the brutal world of the lives of bullied children. Through the honesty, sincerity and power the stories embrace, the film serves as a vehicle for change in our schools, our homes, and ultimately our lives. To learn more about the film and future showings in your area, or to join the movement, visit thebullyproject.com.
2. Bowling for Columbine
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIOALTngExs[/youtube] An interesting look at gun control, filmmaker Michael Moore questions America’s love of guns and why Americans are involved with more violent gun acts than other democratic nations. Focusing on the shootings at Columbine High School, Moore explores what central causes could have affected the violent outrages and how America as a nation can cease some of the violence in the country. Filled with a blend of empathy and humor, the Academy Award winning documentary, Bowling for Columbine, looks at a different side of violence in America and suggests that maybe the problems are not to be blamed on others, rather ourselves. Film critic Roger Ebert described the film as one that teenagers “most need to see.”
*This film has been rated R for violent images and language, though mature younger teenagers should be able to handle it with some guidance. Watch it before your teen if you are unsure, or with your teen to spark discussions throughout the film.
3. American Teen
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEfZzcmL6vA[/youtube]If there is one documentary that epitomizes the average life of an American teenager, this documentary takes the cake. The film follows five teenagers from Warsaw, Indiana. In the midst of their senior year, the teens find the world and themselves through heartbreak, life-lessons, and mistakes. Directed by the academy award nominated director, Nanette Burstein, American Teen delves deep into the lives of the teenagers, exposing secrets, emotions, dreams and desires that any teenager can relate to.
Photo: Fensterbme from Flickr