Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Teenage is a documentary that combines historical footage, narrated letters, and dramatized recreations to illustrate that adolescence is a relatively new construct that allows many children to have several extra years without adult responsibilities. The film follows key moments in modern history in which youths made a notable contribution to promoting social change, creating popular culture, resisting tyranny, supporting fascist regimes, or protecting/defending a nation. Given the subject matter, the movie is most appropriate for viewers who are already fully teens (or older) themselves, as there are some heavy themes; infrequent strong language; references to sex, abortion, and drug use; a brief glimpse of naked behinds as teens go skinny dipping; and potentially disturbing historical images (like Nazi propaganda or child labor photos).
Photos and old footage of teens skinny dipping (naked behinds visible), singing, carousing, and kissing (both same sex and opposite sex). Discussion of how teens in the golden inter-war period became more daring, sexually active, and uninhibited. A teenage boy reveals in letters that he's had sex with a girl. An English socialite is known for being promiscuous and has an abortion.
References to both World Wars and how they affected a generation of young men (and women). Photos, videos, and dramatizations of Hitler Youth, fascists, radicals, socialists, and war in general. Young soldiers, gangsters, and criminals are also shown. Labor camps are also depicted, and young dissenters are executed in Nazi Germany.
Hate-speech from Nazi propaganda, such as "race defilers," "fornicators," "negroes," and "Jewish filth."
The take-away from Teenage is that adolescents are no longer thought of as adults in the way that people in their teens used to be considered. Because of societal changes like industrialization and labor laws, children no longer work, and many teens are allowed years in which they're free from true adult responsibilities. Also, youth movements have made a huge difference in either resisting or supporting political regimes (for example, the Scouts movement fostered patriotism, loyalty, and courage), and teens can and do make important contributions to art, politics, and history.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Discussion and photos of teens who smoked cigarettes (back in the decades when that was the style), drink to excess, and even take popular drugs (like morphine). Bright Young Thing/socialite Brenda Dean Paul is referred to as a morphine junkie. American teens smoke pot.