Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that American Teen is an eye-opening documentary that follows real high-school seniors from the small town of Warsaw, Ind., and doesn't flinch from showing them drinking, swearing, smoking, hooking up, and talking about sex. They also worry about their romantic relationships, peer pressure, college applications, scholarships, and grades. There's plenty of manipulative behavior and tons of emotional ups and downs, all of which teens are likely to recognize and identify with -- and parents may find themselves panicking about.
Teens kiss and hold hands. One teenager discusses "doing it," while another sends a boy a topless photo of herself that's subsequently emailed around the school. Very drunk college-aged women kiss each other and a high-schooler.
No violence, but a couple of disturbing scenes include the discussion of a suicide and of Hannah's post-break-up depression.
Teenagers regularly use all of the usual curse words -- "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "ass," etc. -- throughout the movie.
The movie's main take-away for teens is that high school can be a difficult time for everyone -- and that everyone will have both highs and lows to deal with; how you handle each may not be perfect, but if you believe in yourself, you can make it through. The teens' relatability makes their experiences the kind that will really resonate with other kids.
Brands aren't "product placement," since this is a documentary, but they're definitely visible: Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Legend of Zelda, Mercedes, Ford, Apple iPods, etc.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Teens are shown drinking heavily and smoking cigarettes. One boy's older brother makes a point of getting the younger man drunk when he comes to visit.