Stranger Than Fiction
Director: Jenny Gage
“No one wants to listen to you because you’re a girl and you know nothing…They want to see you but they don’t want to hear what you have to say”
Sage’s (very accurate) description of what if feels like to be a teenage girl reverberated through me. We see images of teenage girls plastered across all over our media, but there seems to be no one there to listen to them. They are in this confusing state between learning to have a voice and learning how to use it. A feeling I know very well.
Sage was one of the seven girls that Jenny Gage’s film ALL THIS PANIC followed, through their teenage years of underage drinking and trying to kiss the cute boy at school, to making tough life choices like whether or not to go to college. Each girl had their own unique stamp and look at the world, but ultimately what Gage was trying to show was that insecurities are universal. Two of the central girls, best friends Lena and Ginger, both fight their inner demons whilst dealing with family conflicts. They are faced with the dizzying reality that growing old might mean growing apart; when you’re a kid and all you know is your friends this feeling is terrifying, that you might lose them and thereby lose a part of yourself. I know this because I felt this too.
One consistent thread through the film, that makes no difference whether you are a teenage girl or boy, is this bizarre notion that we need to decide what we are going to do for the next 60 years of our lives at the age of 17. That we are adults but only legally. This twisting and confusing road that lies ahead seems so vast and scary. You just want to be free and live in the moment but you must now think of the consequences of that moment and what future moments you might have. This film was perfect; it was true and real and fun and sad and everything it is to be a teenager. The sense of feeling fabulous and awkward all at the same time (if only I could tell these girls this doesn’t go away).
Lena ended the film talking about how when she feels meaningless, or like what she is doing is meaningless she thinks of a time when she went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was in the Egyptian section looking at the hieroglyphics. To the Egyptian’s they were just normal, ordinary, everyday. But now they are special – everything has meaning. Although, she reminds us, she was on acid, and who can really trust a teenager anyway?