Subscribe
MaxSpace

Review: All This Panic

The Parkway hits the ground running with this documentary about teenage girldom in all its wonderful complexity and mystery.

By Max Weiss | May 12, 2017, 12:36 pm

MaxSpace

Review: All This Panic

The Parkway hits the ground running with this documentary about teenage girldom in all its wonderful complexity and mystery.

By Max Weiss | May 12, 2017, 12:36 pm

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Now that the Maryland Film Festival is over, the Parkway Theatre is officially open for business. Along with a roster of expertly curated repertory films (this week look for Female Trouble, Mulholland Drive, and Fassbender’s Fox and His Friends, among others), the programmers have promised to bring us lesser known contemporary films that never made it to Baltimore.

A perfect example is the wonderful 2016 documentary All This Panic, which is one of the “emerging films” debuting at the Parkway this week. Directed by Jenny Gage and shot by her husband Tom Betterton, the documentary follows three years in the lives of a group of teenage girls who attend LaGuardia High School in Manhattan (and later college). With apologies to Britney Spears, never has the phrase “not a girl, not yet a woman” been more apt, as we watch these girls swerve wildly from thoughtful reflections on friendship, privilege, and growing up to giggling over boys (and girls) and makeup. The years Gage and Betterton spent with the girls clearly paid off, as the teens have zero affect and are simply living in front of the camera (drugs and alcohol are ubiquitous and seen as no big deal). Many of the girls are going through a crisis—the precocious Lena, who has just been accepted to Sarah Lawrence, has two unstable parents and a troubled brother; the self-possessed Sage just lost her father and she dreams of him and feels haunted by his presence; beautiful Ginger, who may or may not want to be an actress, just graduated and is feeling adrift. All of the girls are street smart, wise behind their years—they attribute this to living in New York City—but they’re still kids. “I’m terrified of getting old,” moans Ginger’s sister, Dusty. “I’m terrified of someone saying I look too old for that outfit!” In one scene, Ginger gets enraged with her father after he simply points out that she hasn’t been motivated to find work since graduating. While these teens are dealing with some genuinely heavy stuff, everything is emotional for them—the film serves as a wonderful reminder of how life and death even the smallest thing can seem when you’re in your teens. On top of being entertaining, illuminating, and affecting, the film is beautifully shot—with gorgeous, hazy light and painterly framing—it looks like a narrative feature. (One critic compared it to The Virgin Suicides, and the film does seem to explicitly nod to Sofia Coppola’s work.) I can’t imagine the discipline it took to turn three years of footage into an 80 minute film, but the results here speak for themselves.

 




Meet The Author
Max Weiss is the managing editor of Baltimore and a film and pop culture critic.

You May Also Like


The Chatter

New Book Tackles Tangled History of Baltimore Politics

Johns Hopkins professor emeritus Matthew Crenson examines the role of race and politics.

Arts & Culture

Book Reviews: October 2017

The latest from Prince photographer Steve Parke and film critic Ann Hornaday.

Arts District

Discover Architectural Hidden Gems with Doors Open Baltimore

Residents can tour more than 50 of the city’s historical structures.


MaxSpace

Review: Victoria & Abdul

True story of the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and an Indian clerk is a little too whimsical.

Arts District

Everyman Theatre is the Perfect Place to Reintroduce Intimate Apparel

With earnest acting and subtle poignancy, the play is a masterful work.

Arts & Culture

This Is What Activism Looks Like

We take a look at some of the key figures who are shaping both arts and activism in the city.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Watch an Intimate Interview and Performance by Davon Fleming of The Voice: The West Baltimore native talks church, Jennifer Hudson, and chicken boxes.

Baltimore Beat Staff Says It Will Not Be City Paper 2.0: The city’s alt-weekly paper set to launch on November 15.

Baltimore Joins the SAFE Cities Network to Provide Legal Assistance for Immigrants: The city will offer pro bono legal counsel, education, and family safety planning for its residents.

Brendan Dorr and Eric Fooy to Open Gin Bar in Old Goucher: Dutch Courage to open next spring in a historic 1850s house.

Italian Travels Inspired Molina Owners to Open R. House Pizza Stall: Local entrepreneurs debut New Haven-style pizza joint inside Remington food hall.